Two weeks ago, Lisa Champagne-Minyard wrote a post called Giving Thanks!, which explored how people can show appreciation and gratitude to vendors, employees and customers. She asked some members of the WEV family for tangible examples of how they enact this process and here’s a sampling of what they had to say:
I show appreciation to my staff by taking their ideas into consideration. I like for my staff to feel ownership in the store. It makes for a healthy work environment! I also try to pay a living wage. Payroll is a huge expense for small businesses, but we need to keep in mind that our team is our most valuable asset.
~ Ashley Pope, SpiceTopia
I’m a huge believer in thank-you notes, handwritten on nice cards. It takes about six minutes, maybe nine minutes for something that’s very specific and complimentary. I find that most people are not sure how to write one, so here’s how to do it:
There should be about three sentences. The first sentence is “Thank you for (thing you did).” The second sentence says something specific about what they did. The third sentence is about how much I appreciate what they did. So, here’s a sample thank-you note:
Thank you so much for your outstanding work in putting together the major donor brunch last Sunday! You were so terrific in negotiating with all the vendors to get us great prices. I really appreciate all the effort of you and your staff in making this event a tremendous success!”
Add in a date at the top and a sign-off at the bottom (“Best wishes” or “With Gratitude” or “Many thanks”) plus your signature and you’re good to go.
I keep thank-you notes and stamps in the glove box of my car so I can write them immediately after events. I also keep a box of thank-you notes at home, and I’m always on the lookout for nice notes. If the cards and stamps are right there, it’s easier to do.
My go-to thank-you gift is chocolates from Chocolats du CaliBressan. I met the owners, Jean-Michel and Jill, through WEV’s Thrive in 5 Program. People rave over these chocolates! In the last 12 months, I’ve bought about 30 boxes of chocolates from them. They’re a good price for gifts, they make a nice presentation, and everyone loves chocolate. In fact, one of my clients bought me a large box from them as a thank-you and I was thrilled!
A lot of WEV businesses have items that make nice gifts for clients. I just used Shell’s Petals for a giant bouquet of flowers for my business partner and they were beautiful! I always go to WEV businesses first when I need a thank-you gift, because I believe in supporting local businesses with my money, and because I’ve met the business owners through WEV. (There are some spices from SpiceTopia going out as gifts next month!)
~ Kathy Wertheim, Werth-It
I am the queen of gratitude and appreciate to my clients. Coming from a pharmaceutical background – it is ingrained in me to show appreciation and gratitude. Where do I start – I have sent the following to clients: Chocolates, candles, gas cards, gift cards, flowers, spa treatments, summer baskets – with all things summer, movie tickets, food baskets, coffee baskets, English boxes – with all things English.
Even a car seat for a client who is having a baby on November 18th!
~Paula Crutchley – SET Instructor
I show gratitude the old fashioned way: hand written thank you cards. I send out about 10 cards a week.
I also send a lot of Cali Du Bressan chocolates. YUM!
~Emily Barany, Emily Barany
I like to show gratitude with thank you cards with hand written notes, surprising pets with new toys, and adding a credit to a client’s account when they refer a friend. During the holidays I normally make pet treats, but this year I want to share my favorite part of the holidays with clients: Cranberry/Orange chutney. It’s so beautiful, fresh and yummy. I will be packaging it in jars and delivering the week prior to Thanksgiving. I just like to give a home-made touch during the holidays, and this year is the first I am stepping away from pet-related goodies.
~ Britta Harris, Dog’s Best Friend
Building customer and employee loyalty simply requires awareness and a modest amount of effort on a regular basis to help ensure your success. Take these thoughts and apply them to your everyday interactions and watch that loyalty pay off week after week, month after month and year after year. Pretty soon, it will take no effort and simply be part of your business’ culture.