The Value of Giving Thanks
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
William Arthur Ward
So much of the holiday season is about gratitude, and even in these challenging times, we’re finding that there’s a lot out there to be thankful for. In many cases, it’s the little things—a kind gesture, connecting with our loved ones in real life or online, even a particularly cuddly pet—that go a long way in reminding us how much good we have in our lives. That extends to our business connections, too. And this is a great time to tap into the appreciation you have for your customers and community and tell them how much you value their support.
The reasons to say “thank you” go beyond self-expression: everyone wants to feel valued—and your customers are no exception. Plus, making sure they know how much they mean to you can also have an impact on your business, providing a boost for you and your buyers alike.
Many business leaders have found that gratitude has more of an effect on customer loyalty than any punch card, coupon, or other discount opportunity provides. Why? Showing gratitude for your customers forms a social contract of sorts, invoking the law of reciprocity—which dictates that we return what we receive. When you acknowledge their kindness, a gift in and of itself, they’ll be compelled to return the favor—often in the form of ongoing support.
Remember, too, that it is much easier (and cheaper) to retain current clients or customers than it is to attract new ones—and the best way to do that is to let them know how glad you are that they’re there in the first place.
Of course, to be effective, your demonstration must be sincere—one only has to think back to the smattering of birthday emails from every retailer they’ve ever shopped with to understand why—and it must provide some kind of value to others. So, what does that look like in action? You can start where most of us are gathering these days: online.
Share your thanks on social media. One great way to say “thanks” is to elevate messages from members of your community. If you read a brilliant insight or idea from a customer on Twitter, retweet it to show your appreciation for the information they have shared. You can repost, share, like, or comment on Instagram for the same effect. Another online option: Endorse, recommend, or congratulate a great client on LinkedIn to show them—and others—that their skillset is meaningful to you.
And if your loyal network helps you reach a social media milestone—a certain number of followers or likes, for instance—be sure to let them know you’re grateful for their support. That could take the form of a thank-you post, email, or coupon toward your products or services to acknowledge that you wouldn’t have gotten there without them.
Recognize above-and-beyond actions. If a client goes out of their way to support you, perhaps by promoting your services to their audience or referring you to your next big customer, respond in a manner that matches their efforts. Take the time to write them a note, send them a product or a voucher for your services, or even give them a call just to say “thanks”. Knowing that you value their generosity is almost guaranteed to inspire more of it.
Make sure your apologies are sincere. If you’ve been in business for any period of time, you know that mistakes are bound to happen. And you likely know that they provide myriad lessons. But they also offer a chance to not only make amends for whatever occurred, but to express gratitude to the buyer.
Consider sending a handwritten note or picking up the phone to say sorry and thank them for their business, whether this is their first purchase or they’ve been a customer for decades. When they know you’re aware of what happened, and you want to make it right because you’re thankful for all they do for you, they’re more likely to stay on board.
A bonus of sharing all this gratitude: you’ll feel good too. Studies show that thanking others provides an emotional and physical boost, giving you the gift of warm fuzzies—and better health. Combined with the bottom-line benefits that giving thanks offers, you’re likely to have even more to be thankful for soon.