A satisfied customer is a direct link to your prospects, key business relationships that your organization needs to not only succeed, but to thrive. It doesn’t matter if you operate a financial services firm, an accounting agency, a real estate, a retail company or a nonprofit. Consider this. McKinsey & Company reports that word-of-mouth influences 20% to 50% of all sales. This impact may increase as consumers become overwhelmed with the numbers of advertisements that are pushed in front of them online and offline. Instead of hearing from advertisers, people want to hear from people they know, people they trust, when they start thinking about doing business with a new company.

Actions that lead to Customer Appreciation

Other major advantages you gain as a business owner when you develop rewarding relationships with satisfied customers are customer loyalty, positive product reviews and strong business referral exchanges. But, how do you turn a one-time customer into a loyal, satisfied customer?

You show your customers how much you appreciate them. For example, you could offer discounts on new products or services to repeat customers, all because they have made a purchase with you before. Additional steps that you could take to show your customers that you appreciate them include:

  • Sending personal, handwritten notes to customers
  • Calling customers and thanking them for a recent purchase they made with you (without asking them to buy another product or service – simply sharing a sincere “Thank You!”)
  • Sponsoring gala events and inviting your customers to attend the events at reduced rates or for free. For example, you could work with an experienced event planner to host a holiday event that had a minimum door charge, all of the proceeds going to an upstanding charity.
  • Giving prizes (i.e. free products) to customers who refer their colleagues, friends, relatives, etc. to your business. Some event planners have gift cards that your business could use to express appreciation to customers.

Be consistent to get the most out of these customer appreciation steps. If you send customers personal notes, do so on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. The same applies to “thank you” notes. To keep expenses associated with customer appreciation efforts down, consider giving out prizes only after referred clients make a minimum purchase ($100) from you.

Special events consistency could demand significant time investment. A way around this is to hire a reliable event planning company. Reliable event planning companies know how to design, plan and manage gala events from start to finish. The event planning companies also have relationships with videographers, photographers, disc jockeys, decorators, bartenders and servers.

It is these services and staffing that event planners use to organize memorable holiday, trade show, charity and customer appreciation events. Because your primary objective is to show your customers how much you appreciate their support, pay attention to prices that event planners quote you. Also, look for event planners who have hosted customer appreciation affairs that are similar to the events you want to offer your clients.

About the Author
Abla Doku is the Chief Events Director at EVENTSTAGERS, a boutique event management, staffing and entertainment service firm located in McLean, Virginia specializing in corporate special events, social affairs, fashion shows, launches, galas and weddings. Also the creator of RED TiE DC, a series of events that spotlight, support and help provide funding to non-profit and charitable organizations in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area by tying businesses and the community together where all proceeds go to support a chosen non-profit. These cause-focused networking events allow attendees to connect, build their business or profession, and support a great cause, all while having a great time making new ties for building meaningful relationships.
For creative ways to show Client Appreciation and turn prospects to satisfied clients, consult with EVENTSTAGERS – http://eventstagers.com

Sources:
http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/grow-customer-satisfaction-crm-0922207
http://www.dsef.org/2012/05/24/6-ideas-to-increase-sales/
http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2011/10/03/six-easy-ways-to-show-your-customer-appreciation-and-strengthen-your-brand/
http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/show-customer-appreciation-increase-roi-0822789
http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/a_new_way_to_measure_word-of-mouth_marketing