Show Client Appreciation ALL Year Long

Show You Appreciate Your Clients and Employees ALL Season Long
Earlier today during my weekly radio program “Chazin The Dream” with Rick Brutti on the UR Business Network, I lamented that most entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners fail to understand and value the importance of showing they appreciate their customers and employees.  I talked about the many lost opportunities in building lasting relationships by waiting until the END of the year to say “Thank You” using a cold and impersonal e-greeting card.
Then lo and behold, just now I received a knock on our door.  My dog Molly jumped up from her day-long deep slumber to bark at the door.  Who was it that dared to interrupt her 23 hour nap?  Our  dog walker Giovanni came out in the rain to hand-deliver my baby a Christmas gift, as a sign of his appreciation for our business this year.   Molly was so happy, she proceeded to run around playing with it for hours and tore it apart as a sign of her personal brand of client appreciation.
You can BET Giovanni is going to get our business next year.
Which goes to show how powerful an impact your efforts at demonstrating your client (employee, vendor, partner, supplier)  appreciation can have on positive feelings about you and your business.  This relationship-building through appreciation can have a major positive impact on how people engage and support you, especially in times like we face today with significant competition on all fronts.
There really are NO excuses for showing those that are most important to the success of your business how much you appreciate them.  There are so many simple, inexpensive ways that you can show your client appreciation, employee appreciation, and thanks for support from your many stakeholders, the only limitation is your desire to treat people this way and your own creativity.   Therefore, the question is:
How come so few people invest the time and effort the ENTIRE year showing other show much they appreciate their support and business?
There are sooo many opportunities to thank your customers for their business, not just when they buy from you (though that’s a great start!) The past five years have been extremely challenging to all businesses. How often do you call or visit your top customers to take them out for breakfast or lunch to learn more about their challenges and assure them that you are there for them?
How often do you allow your best customers to waive their past due accounts, set payment on their terms, or give them an allowance to push payments out or consider their accounts paid in full when they experience financial hardships.
Do you wish them happy birthdays or congratulate them on promotions, anniversaries or other key events?  What do you do all year long to assure your best customers that you are an invaluable partner and will help them achieve their short and long-term goals to succeed?
Do you ever ask your best customers if you can ride along with them on THEIR sales calls, to learn first hand the challenges they  face servicing their customers?
The same standards and guidelines should apply to your efforts at employee appreciation as a key differentiation in your business relative to the competition.   How you treat your people has a direct impact on their productivity, the loyalty they feel for you and the degree of engagement they have in seeing to it that your business will succeed…or fail!
News flash…employees ARE not assets, they aren’t photocopiers with limbs to be “managed.”
How often do you show your appreciation to your people? no, a paycheck is not a sign of thanks. For many of your people in fact they see your compensation as forced servitude.  It takes so little to unleash your people’s untapped talents and leverage their background and experience for long-term competitive advantage. Yet so many business owners fail miserably.
Start by soliciting their feedback on ideas for products, services and ways to improve your business. Empower them to serve your clients in ways that create constant compelling moments of “Wow!” customer care greatness.  Allow them to work on their own schedules, set their own goals, give YOU reviews, bring their children to work, take their own days off. Appreciate them, reward, recognize and challenge them.  Give them the resources they need to succeed, then get out of their way to let them shine.
Your people want to be engaged.  By working for you they have already made the ultimate commitment to your business. Compensation is pretty far down on the list of things employees are seeking from their employee. They want to be treated with respect and civility, appreciated, listened to, rewarded, empowered, and trusted.  How do you do this all year long?
The holidays and end of year are a great speed bump “TIME OUT” to revisit how you treat all the people around you and especially your client appreciation, from your family and friends to your clients, employees, vendors, partners, service providers.
At the end of the day all we have to go on for continued marketplace success in this cold and impersonal 21st Century global online competitive landscape is  our reputational brand.   The BEST way to develop and nurture a lasting brand is by building and maintaining meaningful relationships based on mutual trust and appreciation.
Sending a holiday e-card at the end of the year just isn’t enough to show your client appreciation.  Begin working NOW to make 2014 the year you truly take advantage of the strong and lasting relationships you need to establish.
Here’s to your success maintaining those valued strategic business relationships in 2014!
  Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Executive Coach, Management Consultant, Business Coach
> Plan > Launch  > Grow Your Business.