Overview: Showing your gratitude to customers is one of the most powerful ways to create loyalty and build long term customer relationships. Every attempt at showing your appreciation has to be relevant, personalised, evident and sincere. What and how you say “Thank You” can make your customers into your best advertisers and champions for your business.

Keep it appropriate: Showing your appreciation to a customer should be appropriate. Don’t go over the top. Customers can feel intimidated not thanked.

Make it Personal : Identify something (activity, time, item) that may be of special of interest or meaning to the customer.

Make it Useful : The best demonstrations of thanks are ones that are immediately useful to the customer. It shows you understand their needs.

Make it Timely: Make sure that thanks is given in close proximity to the customer`s visit. This positively links the two in the customers mind.

Write a Card: A hand written thank you card or note shows a personal touch often lacking in the era of social media and email.

Teach Something: Use your social media and also events to help customers understand products or service. Invite them personally.

Inform Customers: If you know a customer is interested in something special and you come across information on it pass it on to them.

Loyalty Program: Have a loyalty program. This can be segmented into various levels. Rewards need not be expensive. Discounts and coupons are good.

Social Media: Reward your best social media users, promoters and those who recommend you. Loyalty bonus points and special offers are good.

Promote Them: If a customer has their own business or activity why not offer to promote, support or champion them?

Employment: Got a job going? Work experience place? Apprenticeship? Ask your customers if they have a relative who would be interested and suitable for the job.

Charities / Events: Are there events or charities a lot of your customers support? Offer a donation to them as part of the loyalty program.

Interest  Support: If a customer is starting a new venture or social group why not offer to assist and support them with advice or mentoring?

Surprise Upgrades: Give a free, spontaneous upgrade. Give them to your best customers, trend leaders or customers with bigger business potential.

Have a Party: Have a business event. Good times are at the beginning of the season, season end, seasonal times or just when everyone needs to relax.

Free Gifts: Have small gift for customers. Many suppliers have freebies you can hand out. Choose what you give carefully so that it’s good for you and your customer.

Unusual Celebration: Send a personal card, coupon or voucher at an unusual time. This avoids your thank you gift getting ignored in the Xmas or other holiday rush.

Refer Customers: Some customers are from other businesses. Referring customers to them is a powerful way of saying thank you and building loyalty

Suggestions: Ask customers for ways to improve your business. If you do them then invite them to see the results and give a reward.

Staff  Customers: Your staff are likely to be your customers. Special discounts, offers or support to them builds staff loyalty and a positive attitude.

One off Discounts: A surprise discount is a powerful way to thank customers for their business. Use them sparingly. Post Xmas is a good time to do this.

Congratulations: Congratulate customers on events such as births, marriages, christenings etc. This shows your interest your customers and their well being.

Disaster Recovery: If something goes wrong with a customer it is useful to quickly make a special effort to thank them for their business and compensate them.