Giving thanks for your customers
Harvey Mackay

November, 2011

Last week's mail included the first holiday greeting of the season -- for Thanksgiving.  One of our vendors sends us an eye-catching Thanksgiving card every year, thanking us for our business.  This is an approach I started my first year in business.


What I love about this custom is that our greeting never gets lost in the shuffle.  We get relatively few cards in November.  They are memorable.  

Beyond that, the sentiment is really important.  As a customer, I think:  "They want us to know they are thankful that we are their customers.  They want to keep our business.  They've offered to go the extra mile.  They think we're important!"

Have you thanked your customers lately?  I mean, besides when you get the order?  Do they know how much they mean to you?

Customer appreciation is not a wise area in which to economize.  Your sales force and customer service staff need support that starts at the top.  The boss should set the tone for customer appreciation because without customers, the boss doesn't have any reason to come to work.

Customers who feel appreciated are more likely to be loyal to their vendors.  Price is rarely the most important consideration when making a buying decision.  In fact, service and quality consistently rank above price in purchasing choices.  Customers understand that they get what they pay for.  They deserve to believe that they are your most important customer!  

So customer appreciation means every day is Thanksgiving Day.  Never pass up an opportunity to let your customers know what their business means to you.

It isn't necessary to go to extremes.  In addition to the memorable Thanksgiving card that we received, let me share some great ideas that folks have shared with me: What happens when you don't follow these rules?  Consider the story of the butcher who laid an egg.  A man ran into the butcher shop just before closing on the day before Thanksgiving.  "You've got to help me," he said. "I told my wife I'd bring home a turkey for tomorrow's dinner, and I forgot!  Do you have any turkeys left?"

"Well, I'll see," the butcher said, and he went into the cooler.  He found only one thin, scrawny turkey, which he brought for the customer to look over.

The man shook his head.  "Haven't you got anything else?"

Hiding his irritation, the butcher headed back to the cooler, taking the turkey with him.  There were no others, so after a few minutes he brought the same turkey out again.  "Took me a while, but I found this one."

The customer sighed.  "All right. I'll take 'em both."

Mackay's Moral:  If you want your customers to give thanks for you, make every day Thanksgiving for them.