20 Ways That Online Businesses Can Thank Their Customers
Remember, most businesses don’t bother to show customers appreciation, so even choosing the easiest of these methods is likely to make you a cut above the rest.
So many businesses neglect their customers after the sale. Once customers part with their money, they may only have contact with the business if they have a problem.
As an online business, you rarely have face-to-face contact with your customers and this can lead to the impression that you are a faceless company. Customers may feel alienated from your brand and perhaps even be tempted to defect to a competitor.
That’s why thanking your customers should become a big part of your customer engagement program, in which you show sincere appreciation for their business and develop a closer relationship with your customers.
Why thank your customers?
Thanking your customers is the art of showing appreciation in a heartfelt and genuine way. When you thank your customers consistently they feel valued and have a better experience with your brand.
In many cases, however, it’s not possible to personally thank every single customer that comes through your online business.
You’ll need to come up with some way to segment your customers to identify those you want to thank — for example, 20% of your best customers could be the recipient of your appreciation.
Thanking customers creates more loyalty, more satisfied customers, and more word-of-mouth referrals — 91% of customers said they are more likely to do business with a company that appreciates their customers. It’s well worth taking the time to express your thanks to customers, so we’ve come up with these 20 ideas for ways you can do it.
1. Send a personalized handwritten thank-you note
Despite being an online business, there’s nothing like a paper-based thank you note written in pen for your customers. Make sure your note is personalized and authentic, getting specific about what it is you’re grateful for.
Use the customer’s name at the beginning and sign your name at the end. You can either include the thank you note with the customer’s purchase or send it separately if your customers aren’t buying physical goods from you.
Here’s an example of great customer thank you notes.
2. Record a thank you video
Thank you videos are a good idea because it’s impossible to fake sincerity. It will be obvious how much time your company has put into producing the video and they come across as personal because of the time it takes to make.
Include a video in a post-purchase interaction, through Facebook targetted advertising, or wait a while to send your video. They work especially well on holidays or special occasions like birthdays.
3. Include a free gift with their purchase
Everybody loves free stuff. Throwing in a special gift with a customer’s purchase is a good way to show you appreciate them, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, if a customer buys a pair of shoes, you can include a free pair of socks.
Make sure your free gift is relevant to what the customer has bought, and it’s something that they’re actually going to use. This is what makes a gift more personal and appropriate for your customers.
4. Send customers swag
Stamp your company logo on promotional items such as stickers, mugs, beer koozies, notebooks, and pens. Send these out to your best customers, who are likely to get excited and share on social media.
Swag also has the advantage of marketing your brand, while at the same time being a thoughtful gift for your customers.
5. Highlight a customer case study
Show a customer how important they are to you by highlighting them in a case study. These are not only good marketing materials, but they also demonstrate to a customer that you appreciate their business.
Remember to only showcase your best customers, who are the ones who will be able to share positive experiences about your business.
6. Donate to a cause on their behalf
Making a charitable donation for every purchase is a great way to thank customers. Customers love brands that are philanthropic and oriented to doing good in the world, and donating to charity shows you appreciate every purchase.
Just make sure your charity is relevant to your brand and sufficiently well-known, and offer proof that you have made the donation.
7. Offer a discount with their next purchase
Thank your customers and prompt them to make another purchase by offering a discount on their next order. Make sure the discount represents a significant saving to really show your appreciation.
8. Send a birthday card
Surprise your customers by remembering their birthdays and sending a handwritten birthday card. You can also combine this with a gift if you have the budget for it to make your customer feel even more special.
9. Offer a free upgrade
If you add a new service or have different pricing tiers for your product, offer a free upgrade to your best customers. Make sure this is optional and remember to ask first, in case customers actually prefer a lower tier.
10. Provide learning materials
Thank your customers by helping them to learn something new. Perhaps you can put together a group of lessons relating to the product the customer has bought, such as a free wild camping guide for an outdoor equipment brand.
Learning materials should focus on making customers successful with your product. If you find resources that may help your customers, share them online.
11. Spotlight customers on social media
Certain customers will love it if you feature them on your social media channels, especially if they have interacted with you before.
This works best if a customer has already shared an image or video of themselves using your product, for example wearing a dress or cycling a bike.
Spotlighting customers on social media tells them that your brand is paying attention, and appreciates their business.
12. Have a customer appreciation week
Try to have one week a year where you focus exclusively on customer appreciation. This is a week where you give yourself permission to thank your customers in as many ways as possible.
Make a bold, public declaration that you are giving back to your customers and use this time to offer exclusive offers and deals.
13. Partner with non-competing brands to offer coupons
Send customers coupons for local businesses by partnering with brands who offer something related but not competitive to your business. Work out a discount with these partners so customers can get money off future purchases.
This is a great way to give back to your customers and show them that you care about supporting small businesses.
14. Build a loyalty program
Build a loyalty program to show your appreciation for long-term customers. If customers spend a certain amount with your business then they can build up points that are redeemable for free products, or that get them a discount on your products and services.
Make sure your loyalty program adds value for your customers and is relevant to them.
15. Respond to all online comments
Customers often complain about brands online using social media but don’t always have their comments addressed. This leads to them feeling ignored by brands and is a bad customer experience.
Show your appreciation for your customers by responding to all customer comments, or as many as you can. This makes customers much more likely to recommend you to others.
16. Utilize their feedback to improve your business
Thank your customers by consistently asking for and implementing their feedback. Many customers think that brands don’t listen to them, so you’ll make yourself stand out from the crowd by letting customers know when you’ve made improvements based on their suggestions.
When gathering customer feedback, it’s important to first acknowledge the feedback, and then close the feedback loop once you’ve put in place the changes.
17. Host a competition giveaway
Hosting a competition giveaway is an exciting way to thank your customers because it gives them the chance to win free stuff. It can be as simple as asking customers to share a picture of them using your product, or sharing their top tip on how to get the most out of the product.
18. Follow customers back on social media
When your customer follows you on Twitter or Instagram, make sure you follow them back to show them you’re interested in what they have to share. Don’t forget to interact with your customer’s online posts and share relevant content.
19. Plant trees for your customers
For every new customer you get, you could plant a tree on their behalf. This will enhance your brand in the eyes of ecologically-minded customers and show them that you care about the environment.
You’ll be thanking your customers by doing your bit for the planet, which results in a win-win for everyone.
20. Randomly offer free shipping
Choose certain customers to offer free shipping for life and make them feel special. Tell them that they have randomly been selected for appreciation which should enhance the value of your gift in your customer’s eyes.
We’ve presented you with 20 unique ways to thank your customers. Remember, most businesses don’t bother to show customers appreciation, so even choosing the easiest of these methods is likely to make you a cut above the rest.
In order to build successful relationships with your customers, you have to make the first move in thanking them for doing business with you. Customers will respond positively and you’re more likely to retain them for life.