It’s customary during the holidays to reflect on the past year of our lives and to acknowledge the people who’ve supported us. For small-business owners, this means taking a few minutes out of our busy schedules to give thanks to customers and employees. Here are some suggestions.
- Write thank-you notes. A short, original card lets your best customers know how much you appreciate their business.
- Pick up the phone. For an even more personal touch, call your favorite customers to express your thanks. They’re likely to thank you back for the call.
- Host a Customer Appreciation Day. Organize an open house at your place of business so your VIPs can rub elbows with you, your staff, and one another. Provide snacks, beverages, and desserts.
- Support a charitable cause. Make a donation to a food bank, homeless shelter, or another nonprofit in customers’ names. Giving back to the community on their behalf is bound to make people feel good about doing business with you.
- Spread the word. Shine the spotlight on a special customer in your company newsletter every month or quarter. Tell readers how important that person is to your business, as well as what you’ve done for them.
- Provide a turkey. A grocery-store coupon for a holiday bird shows your employees that you value what they do at work every day — and supports their celebrations at home.
- Offer flexible work hours. Nothing says “thank you” like a flexible schedule, whether you allow employees to work four longer days to earn three-day weekends or let them take extra vacation days during the holiday season.
- Support telecommuting. Enabling employees to work from home during the holidays can give your employees more time to run errands and spend time with their families. It also typically increases productivity and boosts employee attitudes.
- Give a gift certificate. Pitching in for coffee, books, music, or movies is always appreciated. When in doubt, go green: Cash is a safe choice that can be used for anything they want.
- Buy flowers. Distribute bouquets to staff members to show them how much you value their contributions to your success.
How do you give thanks to your customers or employees? Share your best practices with us in the Comments field below.