Customer Appreciation is Not Just for the Holidays
By: Linda M. Malesic, President, Malesic Associates

The cornerstone of Malesic Associates' philosophy has always been our commitment to our clients. Our mission is not only to provide customized training in sales and communications, but also to demonstrate to our clients how much we value them.

My "best practice" is to show appreciation to our customers in special ways throughout the year. I use three criteria. First, I consider what really interests the individual or company. Second, whenever possible, I personalize the appreciation. Third, I believe the appreciation must be sincere. I like to surprise my customers by sending an unexpected note or by giving a special gift. A customer told me how much her husband wanted to plant a vegetable garden; however, he didn't know the first thing about gardening. One day as I was browsing in a local bookstore, I discovered a beautifully illustrated book on how to grow prize-winning vegetables. Not only was my customer surprised and delighted when I gave her the book, but now, several years later, she still remembers the gift.

So often a small appreciation can make a big impact. During a business trip to Houston, my hosts treated me to an authentic Texas barbecue with all the local cuisine. When I returned home, I decided to send the staff a culinary treat from Lancaster. By the number of thank you messages that I received, I know that the shoofly pies were a big hit.

Every business knows how important it is to have a business plan, a financial plan, or a marketing plan. But how often do we think of having an actual plan to show our customers how much we value them. With the beginning of the New Year, it is a great time to implement a "best practice" of developing a customer appreciation plan - a plan not just for the holiday season but for the entire year.

Learn More: Telephone Skills | Put a Smile in Your Voice | Building Lasting Relationships | Handling Difficult Situations | Thinking on Your Feet

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