I often talk about the irritating client: the one that calls too much, doesn’t want to pay and gets on your nerves. But I personally have a lot of clients that I love to work with.
They are timely, enthusiastic about my services and refer me to all of their contacts. I feel that it is important that any business owner who has loyal, worry-free customers reward them with a customer appreciation promotion. Most of them cost you very little, and simultaneously show your clients that their business with you does not go unappreciated. Here are four great customer appreciation ideas: 1. Referral program My business has been 95 percent referral since I’ve started. We’ve all heard that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of advertisement, and it is so true. No one can sell your service like someone who has tried it for themselves and has been pleased. So when a client of yours tells someone else about your services, have a program set up to track who is referring you and give them a small discount; perhaps 10 percent or 20 percent off of their next service. You could even calculate who gave you the most referrals in six months or a year, and name them your “customer of the year,” and award them something more special like a free service or a gift card. 2. Thank-you card This is a really easy one, and I’ve found it to be very effective. Whenever a new client comes to us, we have them fill out a contact sheet with their name and address as well as other information. Once their project is over, I send them a handwritten thank-you card expressing my gratitude for using our services. I can’t tell you how many of my customers have been so gracious for that small token of appreciation. Remember, your clients can go anywhere for graphic services, but they chose to use you. Don’t take that for granted. 3. Highlight customers on your website Most of my clients (and I’m sure most of yours) are small businesses. They are one of the fastest-growing groups in the nation and definitely in the graphic designer’s clientele. If you have a website (and you better!), consider adding a section where you highlight one of your customers each month or on a regular basis. You can include their picture or business logo and a small paragraph about who they are, what they do and their contact information. It won’t cost you anything, and believe me they will appreciate you helping them to advertise. You might even be able to get a web banner project out of them! 4. Customer birthday appreciation That same contact sheet that I have new clients fill out also has a space for them to give their birthday (Day and month only — some people are really sensitive about their age). This way, I can track when his or her birthday is coming up and send them a little something for the occasion. Maybe it’s just a card, maybe a small gift with my logo printed on it (of course), or maybe a gift card to a restaurant. This lets them know that you are not only interested in their money but you’re interested in them as a person. This will keep them coming back to you. What about you, how do you show customer appreciation to your clients?