Customer & Employee Appreciation – A Season to Say Thank You

Connect With Your Customers and Your Team by Showing Your Appreciation

The holiday rush is upon us! Small business owners certainly feel the stress of additional obligations during the holiday season, and you can be sure both customers and employees are feeling it, too. In this festive, but sometimes overwhelming, time of year, showing your gratitude is a truly important way to stay connected to your customers and to the team that works hard to keep them happy.  Say thank you often! Show the people who help your business thrive that they are important and appreciated with a heartfelt spirit of gratitude and creative, thoughtful thanks.

Show Gratitude to Your Customers

Outstanding customer service includes saying thank you to your customers. Say it often and say it in a variety of ways. This is all the more important during the holidays. According to a study by American Express, 81% of Americans believe smaller companies put a greater emphasis on customer service than their larger competitors. Saying thank you is a chance to stand out from bigger competitors and a powerful way to connect with your customers and build loyalty.

  • If you have a retail location, consider offering cookies or hot chocolate on busy shopping days. Include a sign that thanks your customers for shopping with you.
  • Follow up with your staff throughout the big rush and train them to say thank you to every customer.
  • If you have a loyalty program, perhaps you could offer an extra thank you over the holidays. An extra ‘punch’ on a customer’s loyalty card or a small loyalty bonus can make your holiday gratitude even more memorable.
  • Consider sending a gift to loyal clients. A nice bottle of wine or a couple of pounds of excellent coffee with a handwritten note is always thoughtful.
  • Be sure to follow through with a clear thank you with each effort.

Have you sent out a holiday email yet? Email marketing makes saying thank you easy. Take the time to create a holiday email with a personal message communicating your gratitude for the support of your customers. Email services like ConstantContact and MailChimp offer many easy to use templates or you can upload your own photo, for instance a group shot of your team, to make a more personal connection. Consider a follow up email wishing your customers a Happy New Year. We all know how busy our inboxes get around the Christmas rush, so reaching out a week or two later can increase the chances your email will be opened. If you have a separate list for newer contacts, you can tailor a New Year’s greeting to say both thank you and welcome them to your business. As the holiday season winds down, the New Year is a fantastic chance to say thank you and invite customers back in 2016.

A Round of Applause for Your Team

Your team is another group that has fueled your business over the last 12 months. They deserve your honest thanks, too, for the time and energy they have devoted to keeping your business moving forward. Remember that each employee is feeling the pressure of the holiday season and will appreciate a genuine thank you.

As much as you expect everyone on your team to stay upbeat and positive with clients, your leadership and example will definitely set the tone. Whenever you see someone rise to a challenge or go above and beyond for a client, say thank you and be specific in your praise. If you say thank you and keep smiling, you can show your team that a gracious attitude is possible even during the busiest time of the year. Furthermore, showing your appreciation to your employees will communicate how much you value their help and support, help keep them motivated and engaged, and boost morale for the work ahead. The power of a thoughtful thank you should not be underestimated.

Here are some thoughtful ways to thank the members of your team for all of their hard work

  • Plan a fun event in January after the holiday rush slows down. Consider what the members of your team would like most and plan with them in mind. If you have lots of families, consider a family friendly option like bowling.
  • Write a thank you note to the employee’s family. Point out something specific you appreciated during the last few months from this employee’s work.
  • Even if cash is tight, you might be able to use credit card points to earn cash cards. These make great thank you gifts.
  • Order in a catered lunch or breakfast. Announce it to your team as a token of your thanks.
  • Thank your employees for their commuting time with a gas card.
  • A nice bottle of wine or a few pounds of excellent coffee would bring a smile to employees, too.
  • Consider giving employees an extra day or afternoon off in the New Year. They will appreciate a chance to catch up on personal errands.
  • Find a local company that delivers great baked goods for a sweet treat. For example, Tiff’s Treats delivers warm cookies in cities around Texas.

The end of the year is a delightful time full of festive celebrations and brisk business. Make it a time to say thank you to all of the people who make your business possible. Warm and sincere messages of thanks will help strengthen the relationships with customers and employees that keep your business strong.

Additional Resource
American Express

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