This may be hard for male readers to understand, but when a woman moves, finding a skilled hairdresser is a critical, top-of-theto-do-list task. When I moved to northern Wisconsin, I asked for recommendations, made appointments with several of those people, and chose one to be my official haircutter. Over the years that she cut and styled my hair, I never had a bad hair day. When I’d mention that I knew someone who was moving into town, or someone who wanted a new look, she’d hand me a card that offered 10 percent off their first visit. I counted. Over the ten years I went to this hairdresser I brought her twelve customers–all of whom visited her at least once a month. (You do the math.)
On the day that I had a hair emergency and she couldn’t fit me into her schedule, I started thinking. How come she was rewarding the new customers I was recruiting for her and I wasn’t getting any reward? Why wasn’t I worthy of even some consideration for an emergency appointment? It was the beginning of the end of our client/hairdresser relationship. (Have you ever noticed how quickly resentment can build?) It didn’t take me very long to find someone else who solved my bad-hair-day situation. The next month, as my possible replacement hairdresser cut my hair, I mentioned it was my birthday that week. "Oh," she said. "You’re in luck. I give my clients a 50 percent discount on their birthdays." Guess who has been cutting my hair for the last ten years.
Showing that you’re grateful doesn’t always involve giving something of monetary value. Businesses that express their gratitude do so in many ways. They use their customer’s names–all the time. They keep track of preferences and make suggestions that solve problems. They send cards on days without a holiday attached. They make eye contact and listen. They anticipate. They’re creative. They fall in love with their customers and show it.
How do you reward your clients? Often, in an attempt to build new business, we forget to value the business and clients we already have. Asking how to show gratitude is key to avoiding that trap. Not only will you hear about ways to say thank you, you’ll discover which thank yous are most meaningful for your customers.