“Take the time to appreciate what you have, before it becomes what you had.” – Tommy Wyatt
When it comes to improving customer retention, your brand should be intentional about making your customers feel appreciated. There’s a reason why almost 68% of customer retention loss happens when dissatisfied customers feel nobody cares for them. Demonstrating gratitude not only strengthens your relationship with customers, it also increases loyalty, affinity and retention. Showing Gratitude is all about offering personalized service and individual appreciation. When customers feel connected to your brand, they will refer you to friends, family and colleagues.
Gratitude also has been conceptualized as a force that helps people maintain their reciprocal obligations (Gouldner 1960), a sort of inertia that causes relationships to maintain their prosocial orientation (Schwartz 1967), and an important link that supports the chain of reciprocity (Simmel 1950).
According to RJMetrics, top customers spend 5x more per order, make 4x more purchases, and spend 30x more than the average customer. According to SCORE, 70% of all buying decisions are based on how customers feel they are being treated. Thus it definitely pays to show gratitude to your most valuable customers because in the long run, it is key to customer delight and loyalty. In addition, customer appreciation is not a one time thing and must be made part of the brand culture. In fact, if done right, it will be part of your overall marketing strategy.
Customers who feel appreciated turn into happy customers who will come back again and again because they see real value in your offerings and get great satisfaction from your brand. These customers are your most valuable ones who feel appreciated and will make the extra effort to write positive reviews, share their positive experiences across social media and provide feedback to the brand for continuous improvement. Your most valuable customers have the highest lifetime value. Higher customer lifetime value helps you generate more revenue because loyal customers buy more, shop more frequently, pay more, and refer more customers to your brand. If you want to accelerate growth and increase profitability, showing gratitude as a means of retaining your customers is the right strategy. It’s that simple!
Case in point, Pizza Hut back in 2013 came up with a valuable giveaway program around the hashtag #LastMinuteLovers. The campaign was exclusively directed at spouses who’d procrastinated on Valentine’s Day plans. The campaign increased the brand’s visibility for the chain. The program involved Pizza Hut giveaways of 24 gifts, a pizza-scented perfume along with a $20 gift card, with the promise that it would be delivered in time for Valentine’s Day.
In another example, GE launched a “Healthymagination” program with a shared purpose of “creating better health for more people.” To deliver on that shared purpose, in 2012 the company developed an outreach program designed to “create an emotional connection” around health.
GE tracked its social media channels and spread awareness about health, thus engaging people not with an intention to sell but instead to express appreciation and support. In some cases they went even further, sending personalized gifts (like a yoga mat or water bottle) to align their expression of gratitude to the shared purpose.
To begin with, gratitude should be a part of your brand DNA. There should be a company wide, customer centric mindset. Your brand tone should reflect customer appreciation at all times. Here are some phrases that depict appreciation:
- Thank you for choosing us!
- We appreciate your support and trust in our product/service.
- We cherish your support!
- We are honored that you trust and support us!
- It’s been a pleasure serving you!
Here are various ways you can show gratitude to your customer:
- Brighten their day by sending a thank you note either on social media or inside the packaging. This will not only delight your customers but also set your business apart.
- Hold seasonal giveaways like discount coupons, free products, gift cards and the like. Great way to make your customers feel appreciated.
- Test a new product with your existing customers before launching it in the market. This shows you value their input and they become an extension of your team. Offer a discount to those who were in the final product test round. Great way to make them feel valued.
- Periodically reward your most valuable customers with VIP upgrades or unique experiences, coupons and discounts.
- Provide value-added content like a learning center or knowledge base such as a blog or online magazine where they can gain insights about your product or industry. This shows your commitment to helping customers make the most of your offerings at no additional cost.
- Actively listen to your customer needs and wants. Go into the details and understand their behavior and lifestyle patterns. Not only will this exercise help you gain insights about your customers to improve your product, but also deepen your relationship with them. Ask questions and take note of the smallest of details.