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6 Creative Ways to Thank Your Customers—and Retain Them
Tips & Tricks
min read

6 Creative Ways to Thank Your Customers—and Retain Them

Thank you is underrated. Here's why saying it to your customers is worth it, and how to do it right.

Thank you is underrated.

That may sound subjective, but this isn’t just a personal opinion. Many psychologists agree that people tend to underestimate how much joy a simple thank you will bring to another person.

Ask a group of people if saying thank you was a polite thing to do, and the overwhelming majority would agree. But why don’t we actually do it?

There’s an overwhelming amount of self-psychology that lists the personal benefits of thankfulness, both for the person giving thanks and the person receiving it, but does this apply to business as well?

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the benefits of saying thank you to customers, how to encourage a culture of thankfulness, and 6 creative ways to say thank you to your customers.

Why you should thank your customers

Teaching people to say thank you may sound like a lesson in an episode of Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood, but thankfulness really is something that needs to be practiced.

Aside from the personal benefits of saying thanks, there are real business reasons that back up why you should be thanking customers regularly.

Customers want to feel valued

It may go without saying that people want to feel valued, but the role that this place in keeping them as a customer gets lost.

Most people might assume that if a customer leaves, it’s because of pricing or the different product features of a competitor, but according to Follow Up Success, only 9% of defecting customers leave for this reason.

Now, compare that to research done by the Pepper & Rogers Group which states that 60% of businesses have lost a customer because they feel the business is indifferent to them.

percentage graphic

If a customer’s relationship with you feels like a one-way relationship, then they will certainly take their business elsewhere.

And if you think “Well, my NPS score is pretty good, I think we’re doing okay as-is,” then just know that, from that same Pepper & Rogers study, 80% of defecting customers describe themselves as “satisfied” or “very satisfied” just before they leave.

Customers are craving engagement from you, and the consequences of not giving it are severe.

The financial benefits of recurring customers

It’s a well-recited fact that it is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Yet, marketing teams continue to place much more of their focus on customer acquisition while leaving customer retention at the wayside.

Engaging and retaining existing customers may sound less exciting, but there’s a lot of revenue to be had here. Per Bain & Co., increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.

On top of that, 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, and expressing your thankfulness on a regular basis is going to result in a positive experience for your customers.

“We will one day dust off the bones of companies that fossilized because they didn’t think (caring) could 'scale,' or because they didn’t think it was worth the effort, or because they could not stop drawing lines in the sand.”

Some marketers like to shy away from these kinds of activities, stating that there’s no clear path to prove ROI, or it isn’t scalable, but there needs to be room in your marketing strategy for these kinds of activities.

It’s often touchpoints between the brand and the customer that fall outside of strict metrics that can have the biggest impact on turning your customers into loving brand loyalists.

In his book The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk says “We will one day dust off the bones of companies that fossilized because they didn’t think (caring) could 'scale,' or because they didn’t think it was worth the effort, or because they could not stop drawing lines in the sand.”

Increase word-of-mouth

Thanking customers in a personal way has tremendous power to increase the likelihood of a customer talking about your product or service to their personal network.

That type of endorsement is particularly valuable. When 75% of people don’t believe ads, but 92% of them believe word-of-mouth from friends, it’s helpful to have brand advocates working on your behalf.

When done right, your customers will tell people about how much your gestures mean to them. So, what does it mean to do it right?

How to cultivate a culture of thankfulness

Yes, we’re taught early on the politeness of saying thank you when someone opens a door for us, but that’s an impersonal, almost passive thank you. How do you thank customers in a way that really means something?

Make it personal

Studies show that 38% of customers attribute a good customer experience to personalization. This means teaching your customer success or sales team to learn and remember things about your customers and sending communication outside of canned responses.

Make it genuine

Talking about the business benefits of thankfulness may sound, inherently, disingenuous, but that definitely doesn’t have to be the case.

Genuine means using authentic language, not simply a script. Zapier put together a handy guide of customer service phrases not to use when talking to customers. Steering away from robo-talk and towards natural conversation will make your communication feel more genuine.

Make it a habit

Studies have shown that people typically overestimate how awkward saying thank you really is and underestimate how much joy it will bring the other person.

Heaping on praise and thankfulness may feel awkward it first, so sometimes, setting aside dedicated times to do it at your company, both internally and externally, will make the act of giving thanks feel less weird.

HR platforms like Lattice have features where you can openly share praise to members of your company. It also integrates with Slack, so everyone in the channel can see.

Real Thread's praise channel in Slack

When thankfulness is ingrained in your company culture internally, it’s only natural that it will be noticed externally as well.

6 Creative Ways to Say Thank You to Your Customers

1) Write them a hand-written note

In the increasingly digital world, sometimes analog can still win. And a thank you note will almost certainly beat a thank you email. This is hardly a novel idea, but it’s something within everyone’s capability, and as such, is a great place to start.

2) Send them some swag

One powerful way to say thank you to customers and give them a tangible way to promote your company? Send them some company swag! Not only will customers be excited to receive the free gift, but you’ll also be giving them a way to outwardly promote your brand.

Earlier this year, Real Thread Account Managers started sending personal notes to first-time customers, along with a free Real Thread t-shirt.

It’s hard to know the direct ROI of these small gestures, but metrics like an increase in referrals, more social shares, more reviews, or simply kind responses are all good things to look out for.

3) Pass along a great read

Ask around your office for books that have been influential both personally and professionally. Doing so and sending them to customers gives them deeper insight into your company culture. Plus, this gesture opens up the window for further discussion.

Again, include a note inside the book if you can. That way, the customer will know you were thinking of them when selecting this book.

4) Refer customers

This one works particularly well in the B2B space. B2B businesses should make every effort to say thanks by sending business towards their customers. Look for opportunities to refer them to other clients or link them into your network.

5) Celebrate customer milestones

One year of working together? Send a gift card for coffee. A customer is having a baby? Send a onesie! Celebrating milestones is one of the easiest ways to say thank you to customers, as they serve as built-in reasons to do something special for your customers.

6) Incorporate video into your customer communication

One of the best ways to personalize regular day-to-day communication is to include video! Products like Loom, Vidyard or Bombbomb make it incredibly easy for sales and customer success teams to embed short, personal videos into everyday communication like email.

Here’s a video from my inbox, sent by our friends at IMPACT, thanking a coworker and me for sponsoring their event.

Video is a richer medium than text, and is a great way to give your regular communication some personality.

Start Giving Thanks

It’s time to start passing thanks along to your customers. Why? Because, well, your business can’t afford not to. Let your customers know you’re thankful for them in a way that’s personal and genuine, and it will absolutely have positive effects for your company.

If you’re looking for thoughtful company swag to send to customers, let our team know! We’d love to work with you to print soft, stylish company apparel that your prospects and customers will love and actually wear.