Give, Gain, Grow

Angela Megasko of discusses how going above and beyond to show customers they are appreciated provides it's own reward.Any business owner knows that, despite how generous they may wish to be, they can’t “give away the store” if they want to be profitable.

“Want our free report? All we ask for is your email address!”

“Want to win a free gym membership? Supply your name, address and contact information!”

“Receive a free candle on your next visit (with any $25 purchase)!”

As business owners, we’ve all done it, because we’ve all had to. We know that even though the discounts and rewards we extend to our customers may come with a caveat, the offers are still appreciated. But…

[tweetthis]When was the last time you gave something to your customers without expecting something in return?[/tweetthis]

Perhaps February can be the month in which you find a way to show your customers how much you value their business and loyalty by giving them something special – no strings attached.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Set up a table of hot coffee and delicious pastries to welcome customers and provide a bit of warmth from the cold. Add a white table cloth and a vase of red roses to sweeten the treat.
  • Present scratch & win tickets to each customer upon checkout, where every ticket is a winner, to varying degrees. Sending such tickets in the mail, and then expecting the customer to remember to bring it with them to the store between a limited time frame, ends up being more trouble for the customer than the prize is most likely worth.
  • Have employees on hand to help seniors, moms who have their hands full, or customers who make large purchases carry items back to their car. And if it’s raining outside, don’t forget the umbrella!
  • Offer free classes to educate your customers on what you know may be problem areas: How to Handle the Terrible Twos, IRAs Made Easy, Smartphones for Smarties, An Introduction to Fly Fishing. The possibilities are endless!

Small improvements can be made on a day-to-day basis to show customers you care (Don’t you just love when Starbucks writes your name on your cup?), but make a special effort – at least once a year, on holidays or once a quarter – to give your customers a real gift, simply for the sake of giving. Your appreciation, and their gratitude, will continue to build positive business relationships all the year through.

As a business owner and a customer, what ideas do you have for showing appreciation to customers?

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