The great Zig Ziglar once said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Apparently science backs his perspective because a recent survey found that 49 percent of customers cited their reason for taking their business elsewhere was due to “feeling unappreciated.” Gratitude is more than a nifty practice for warding off churn and building brand loyalty; it is an opportunity to provide genuine encouragement and support to the people in your sphere, which are two things we all could do with a little more of this year.

Big Benefits of Being Grateful

Making a habit of being grateful is not only good business, it’s good for you. According to the folks at Forbes, there are 7 scientific ally proven benefits you reap when you are grateful, including major improvements to:

  1. Physical Health
  2. Mental Health
  3. Emotional Health
  4. Self-Esteem
  5. Sleep
  6. Empathy
  7. Relationships

#1: Get Personal With Your Gratitude

Recent research from TD Banks regarding how customers prefer to be thanked found that:

  • 84% prefer an in-person thank you accompanied by a gift
  • 60% are good with a simple in-person thank you
  • 44% prefer thank yous to be personalized

Peter Roesler, the President of Small Business SEO recommends using data to make thank you messages personal.  Roesler said, “The previous statistic [44%] is of particular interest to companies that use email or direct mail marketing to send appreciation messages to a large number of recipients. Using personalization features will make these messages seem more authentic.”

#2: Use Your Data to Say Thanks

To scale personalized thank you messages to all of your customers featuring their name, title, past purchases and other pertinent data, you can use a Content Automation Tool (CAT). A CAT connects seamlessly to the data sources in your martech stack, like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system , Marketing Automation Platform (MAP), etc., and automates the process of pulling the right data attributes and inserting them into the right template for the channel you choose (email, direct mail, SMS, etc.). “For companies with lots of big data on their customers, this level of personalization can get amazing. For example, just as some retailers use algorithms to decide on the best offers to include in a marketing email for each recipient, the same can be done with appreciation rewards,” said Roesler.

#3: Focus on Expressing Thanks, Not Selling

Shopify customer service blogger, Sarah Chambers maintains that the best way to express your gratitude is to keep it short, simple and direct, with no hint of trying to sell anything else. “Thank customers without an overt expectation of anything in return. For example, don’t ask them to share on social media, and don’t pester them to buy in the same breath. Simply express gratitude, personally and directly, for being a customer and placing their trust in you to deliver.”

#4: Get Creative With Gifts of Gratitude

The key to expressing thanks well through gifts is to give something meaningful that benefits the customer. Gifts do not have to be expensive, but they do need to be thoughtful. Examples of meaningful gifts that have a marked personal touch include:

  1. Call your customer and invite them to lunch, dinner, or a sporting event
  2. Send customers great tickets to a coveted local event
  3. Send a handwritten note with a gift card to a beloved local coffee shop or eatery
  4. Host a luncheon or dinner for your top 20 customers to mix, mingle and network
  5. Make a donation in their honor or volunteer time to their favorite charity
  6. Give them a significant discount on future purchases they make with your company (yes, this almost counter’s our #3, but it can be done without being salesy.)
  7. Invite them to do a guest blog or feature them as customer of the month on your website, social media outlets and marketing materials
  8. Consider using a corporate gifting service like Vice VIP, which sends fully customizable themed gifts featuring everything from tech items and gourmet food, to tools, housewares, cigars and more.
  9. Shop for unique items via price-point and your ideal budget from clever stores like Uncommon Goods or use this checklist featuring 23 delightful gift ideas from Business Insider.

#5: Make Gratitude a Regular Practice

If you have a data dashboard plugged into your MAP or CRM, then you can view your data on a segment level and choose set times to say thanks to customers. Birthdays and anniversaries of when a customer first did business with you are always a good time to acknowledge your gratitude for their ongoing support and loyalty. Holidays are another fun time to do creative or themed gifts. Choosing a less popular holiday is often a great way to ensure your gratitude stands out. For example, you can send a King Cake to customers during Mardi Gras, retro candy boxes at Halloween, and a Guinness Treat Hamper on St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Naturally, it’s good to thank customers each time they do business with you, but it’s also wise to have set times where the gratitude you show is extra special.

In the spirit of this blog, we’d like to say THANK YOU for reading, and

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Sureshot!