Don’t underestimate the business impact of giving people reasons to feel good. Typically, we think of service as purely sales-focused, beginning and ending with the immediate transaction. Widening the view, regular customer appreciation activities can have a big impact on valuable long-term loyalty, too.
Does it need to be costly? No. Does it need to be consistent? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely! Of course, appreciation and recognition should be happening “in house,” too. When formal and informal recognition is built into your company culture, it can help you to attract and retain top performers while deepening commitment to your organization. According to a recent study by Bonusly, 82% of employees consider recognition an important part of their happiness at work.
Here are 10 ideas that may be small investments in time and money but can pay big dividends.
- Send a card. Always thoughtful and often unexpected, a word of thanks is nice after a first, large or repeat purchase, or in appreciation of a referral. While email may be efficient and easy for broad-reaching acknowledgments, nothing tops the touch and feel of a personalized, handwritten note on high-quality stationery or a notecard with your logo embossed or foil-stamped on the front.
- Pick up the lunch tab. For top business-to-business clients, offer to send lunch to their location. You can send along logoed, reusable lunch totes, or branded water bottles or travel tumblers. When the time is right, business-to-consumer companies can host an open house, sending an inexpensive postcard to invite loyal customers to a pre-sale event with preferred pricing.
- Extend the goodwill. Send a gift of appreciation for a substantial order, referral or an anniversary of your business relationship. A branded crystal candy dish filled with treats, for example, creates an opportunity for your sales team to extend good feelings by refilling it on subsequent visits.
- Get personal. If your customer data is robust and includes birthdays, anniversaries or other significant dates, you can build in recognition beyond typical business-related occasions with personalized offers and gifts. Have clients who are into fitness? Pick logoed pedometers or exercise mats to show you know . . . and care.
- End on a high note. Year-end holidays are a prime time to send cards and gifts. Tried-and-true, printed wall calendars have secured their spot in the workplace despite the plethora of electronic options. Welcome desk accessories include journals and portfolios or electronics, like power kits or Bluetooth speakers.
- Be specific. While acknowledging an employee of the month is good, better yet is rewarding your team members in the moment. Drawstring backpacks, headphones or travel blankets with your company imprint are all on trend.
- Encourage peer recognition. Enable employees to acknowledge one another for going the extra mile. Have them nominate deserving co-workers for company-issued gift cards or tokens redeemable for office perks.
- Put it in writing. Top-performing companies prioritize employee communications as sharing your organizational vision and mission is essential for engagement. Salute those who embody your company values during staff meetings and highlight their personal stories and achievements in your printed company newsletter.
- Tie rewards to company goals. Get the most from your employee appreciation program by linking some awards directly to your goals: increasing sales, improving customer service or identifying cost savings. Traditional plaques and crystal trophies can instill pride in high-level accomplishments.
- Remember remote employees. Teleworking from home or locations far from the main office is the new norm for many businesses. Reinforce their sense of connection by ensuring all employees are represented in recognition opportunities.
Looking for creative ways to share the love with customers and employees? We can help!