Business is a funny thing. Whether your company is a nonprofit, a manufacturer, or a service provider, your primary goal is to either sell or to raise funds for your cause. Everything you do is based on this objective. You plan new products so that you can win new customers. You try to diversify your business so you can reach more customers. You try to come up with new ways to touch the heartstrings of potential donors.
After all of that effort, you finally sell a product. You finally get a new customer or a new donor. Your hard work and all of those ideas have paid off at last. What happens next?
Most of the time (not all of the time, but in most cases) a customer makes a purchase, a person makes a donation to your cause, and that’s the last they hear from you until you contact them to buy something else or donate even more. Does that seem crazy to you? It certainly seems crazy to me. After all, there are multitudinous ways to thank people for supporting your efforts, ranging from discounts, gift cards, loyalty programs, handwritten “thank you” notes, and more.
Do you want to know the most crazy part about all of this? The fact is that companies benefit from showing gratitude. You know this because you know how you have felt if you have ever received a sense of gratitude from an organization you supported or a company from which you purchased a product or service. The best example I have ever experienced was courtesy of Charity:Water. I made a donation in honor of a friend’s birthday and figured that like most donations, it would just drop into their ocean of received money. I was shocked to receive not only an email thanking me for my donation, but a few months later I received another email letting me know where my specific donation had gone and how it had helped people in a specific location. It was a meaningful gesture, and though it happened a few years ago now, I still use that as a classic example of how to build loyalty in your base.
Another point to consider is that showing gratitude for customers or contributors is, along with excellent customer service, a fantastic way to drive referrals and conversation about your company. Just as I tell people about how much Charity:Water impressed me with their follow-up, people will talk about your company if you show the love to your customer base. You probably do this yourself. When you have a really great experience, or when you get an unexpected “thank you” or follow-up message, you tell your family and friends about it. You might leave a review on Google or on the company’s Facebook page. Your customers will do the same for you.
Showing gratitude does not have to be an expensive or expansive program. Your customers are most likely not expecting anything, and, therefore, anything will surprise them. You can also begin with a small gesture and build on it as your company increases momentum.
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Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bunnicula/8642769287/ via Creative Commons