“Actions speak louder than words.”
The phrase your mother said 1,000 times before has followed you all the way into adulthood. In fact, it might actually be the thing that builds your business and makes you more successful.
Mom was right. Go figure.
The word “thanks” may have a nice ring to it, but there’s something to be said about backing it up with actions. This is especially true in service-based businesses, where your livelihood relies on building strong connections (combined with producing amazing work, of course).
Below, I’ll discuss 15 ways to delight your clients through expressions of gratitude and appreciation. You’ll notice a common thread while reading through the article: each idea requires sincerity and personalization to truly feel delightful.
Bring delight today by using one (or more) of these 15 ideas in your business:
Write a Thoughtful Note
Can you remember the last time you received a handwritten “Thank You” card? I know that I can’t.
Kick it “old school” by sending a thoughtful, handwritten note. Want to maximize the impact? Make it specific and personal; don’t just write the same canned response to everyone.
Remember Things That Matter
Go out of your way to discover and remember important facts. Try to uncover details like these:
- Client’s birthday
- Names of spouse, children and/or pets
- Anniversary date
- Birthdays of spouse and/or children
Put the date on your calendar and send a card or gift to help celebrate the occasion.
Send a Small Gift
Purchase a gift with a value of $10 or less to send to your clients, and try to make it unique and personal.
As an example, send a LEGO Minifigure to a client that loves Legos (or that loves the subject of the figurine). Can you even imagine what a huge impact that would have?
Add an Unexpected, Free Bonus
A fascinating study about the power of reciprocity shows that waiters who left two free mints at the end of the meal received a 21% higher tip compared to those who left nothing.
In the same vein, find something you can do for free while working with your client. Something as simple as a free blog post after a website design project will mean a lot – both delighting your client and increasing your likelihood of earning future business and referrals.
Give a Discount, Just Because
At the end of a project, give a small discount just because.
This goes hand-in-hand with giving an unexpected bonus and works well for people in industries where a discount is much easier to apply than to spend time finding the perfect bonus.
Of course, you can’t discount everything and still remain profitable, but don’t underestimate the impact of doing so when you really want to shine.
Share Their Content
Add the client’s blog to your RSS reader and have your social media manager monitor their updates across different networks.
From time to time, share their content on your social channels. Doing shows that you care and that you agree with the things they post. Plus, who doesn’t like having their content shared? It’s a great ego boost that your clients will appreciate.
Share Insightful Resources
Pay attention to your client’s issues and aspirations, even if they don’t directly pertain to your services. You can use that knowledge to build a deeper relationship later on.
For example, let’s say your client mentions he’s considering the Paleo diet. A week later, you come across an article about the diet’s benefits. Send an email with the link and a small note on why you’re sending it.
(For example, “I remember you talking about wanting to start this diet. Thought you might be interested in this article.”)
Simple as that. The client will be delighted to know that you remembered and cared about your past conversations.
Check-In on a Regular Basis
A quick check-in not only keeps you top-of-mind, it also shows that you care.
Consider setting up an email autoresponder that automatically checks in periodically throughout your contract. A quick message asking, “How are we doing? Do you have any feedback or suggestions for improving our service,” goes a long way.
Get to Know the Whole Team
If possible, schedule a lunch at your client’s office and order in for anyone on their team that will join you. You’ll get the chance to connect and meet people on the front lines, improving the relationships you’ll likely lean on throughout the project.
You’ll get to know the client’s office in a new way, and the lunch conversations will likely serve as a critical learning experience that can ultimately impact the project’s success.
Treat a Long-Distance Client to Coffee
When you have clients that live far away, your options to delight your customers can feel pretty limited.
One delightful solution? Send a gift card for coffee each month. A small gesture like this can help build a great relationship, even if distance keeps you from having coffee in person.
Give a Special Promotion Offer
Celebrate your company or client anniversaries with a special promotion. It could be simple, like a discount on that month’s bill, or you can develop something complex, like entrance into your VIP program.
Turning milestones into promotions is sure to delight the customers you’re lucky enough to work with.
Show a Little Bit of PDA
I’m not talking about “public displays of affection.” Here, I’m talking about “public displays of appreciation” – that is, going above and beyond to help build your client’s company.
Showing a bit of public appreciation could bring in referral business. To do so, publish a social media update or build a special section of your website for “partners” that link back to their website.
Send a Tasty Treat
What brings more delight than a free, tasty treat? To celebrate with your customers, do something fun, like sending cookies with your custom logo.
But make sure to be mindful of your clients here. If they’re on a diet or really into fitness, something like a fruit basket might work better as a treat.
Go Over-the-Top in a Grand Gesture
You’ve certainly heard of amazing customer service stories.
Unfortunately, that kind of service doesn’t scale. It’s not something that you can offer to everyone all the time. But it is something you could do for at least one person.
Choose someone and go all-out. Make it a story that they’ll talk about with friends, share on social media and remember for years to come.
Provide Excellent Service, Everyday
Ultimately, the best way to continuously bring delight is to provide excellent service, everyday.
Sure, tokens of appreciation and gratitude work well. But they should be viewed as additional components of your client service, not as band-aids to remedy poor care the rest of the time.
L.L. Bean’s President and CEO said it best:
“A lot of people have fancy things to say about customer service, but it’s just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, persevering, compassionate kind of activity.”
These 15 ideas are sure to add a bit of delight to your client’s day, which can go a long way towards forging strong, lasting relationships. What other ideas would you add to the list?