What is a Thank you? It’s appreciation. A recognition that someone else understands you and wants to recognize the part you play in their life. They are grateful. Thankful.
Appreciate those who give you money. Depending on your generation, the words ‘Thank you” may or may not be part of your regular language.
Sadly, with the advent of the digital age, these simple words, or the actions that reflect their meaning, have disappeared from our day to day habits. Very few people appreciate anything.
Even worse, the words and appreciation have disappeared from our business life.
Why be thankful?
Ask a random group of employees who write their paycheck and the answer, 99% of the time, will be ‘someone in HR’ or accounting or payroll. But the reality is much different.
Everyone in a company is paid by the customers! Without customers, there would be no paychecks, no company, and no job. Yet, companies, through their employees and systems, show little respect for this relationship. Employees feel put out for just having to work- what’s to appreciate?- and customers feel this.
Have you ever been in a store where employees are joking and laughing with each other, even on the phone, while taking money from a customer or client?
Customers and clients know when they have been disrespected and vote with their feet. You may never see them a second time. And unhappy customers will gladly relate their story to 27 of their friends. How will that help sales?
Why have an Appreciation System?
The best reason is that you truly appreciate customers and clients. But the second reason is just as powerful, even if not as morally upstanding- money. Clients who feel appreciated stay with you longer, spend more and refer your business more often. All that translates directly to the bottom line.
How important are customers and clients to you?
The more you are a commodity, the less appreciation is expected. Gas stations show little appreciation and customers don’t really expect it. That why there is so little loyalty. If you competitor drops their price a few cents, your customers stop coming.
The bigger the average transaction value, however, the more customers and clients want to be recognized. Someone buying a Lamborghini has a different expectation from someone buying a KIA. A client buying a new 30’ boat has different expectations than a canoe buyers at Sears®. But each deserves, and will reward with loyalty, a sign of appreciation.
When a client is surprised by appreciation, you have gained loyalty and trust. Today, this has become simple. Very few people ever expect appreciation anymore. They have become hardened to the poor service that marks most business interactions. When they are surprised by appreciation, loyalty, trust and ‘word of mouth’ follow quickly. Don’t believe me? Try it!
Want more loyalty and trust?
Customers who are appreciated feel better, are more loyal, and actually more forgiving when an issue does arrive. Read that again. Instead of screaming, yelling, and writing negative reviews all over social media, people who have been shown appreciation are more liable to give you and the company the benefit of the doubt when there is a problem. How cool is that?
This is one reason a system of appreciation needs to be in place, not just a one- off ‘Thank You’.
How do you show appreciation?
It starts during the sales process. Depending on the method (in person, online, brick and mortar, service, etc) it should be part of the service. An appreciative employee with a handful of excellent scripts can be more powerful than a 50% off sale.
Ever shop at Zappos®? They are known for their customer service and appreciation of their customers. It shows up with hassle free shopping, simple returns, and no grief when you call in with a concern, problem or question. They are so oriented (and empowered) to help, that a caller into their system had misdialed- but that didn’t stop the rep. The customer thought they were calling a pizza delivery. The Zappos rep took all the information, called the pizza place and ordered!
Appreciation follows after the sale. A personalized Thank You card is a simple, low cost, high impact, a method to start. Not good at writing? Have a professional write 10 different Thank you notes you can copy. (Hint: Never start with “Thank you for…” and NEVER include a business card.)
Is it expensive to have an appreciation system?
It is an expense, but substantially cheaper than the marketing cost of acquiring a new client. And the Client Lifetime Value of an appreciated customer is much higher. Why? They will stay with you longer and buy more and more often than someone who is not appreciated.
Written by Mark Mehling.Would you like a free, 1 on 1 conversation with Mark? Every Friday, Mark has appointments to talk problems, trade ideas, and offer motivation and specific solutions to people in business just like you. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s part of a ‘Pay It Forward’ that Mark does to appreciate all those who made him the success he is today. You can sign up for a 50-minute phone call here:
Thank you, Mark!