Customer Experience News & Trends

Get 51% more purchases and visits, just by doing this …

You can never say “thank you” enough. New research proves it’s more powerful in the customer experience than most of us ever imagined.

Sincere appreciation can improve relationships, increase sales and boost loyalty. Most companies and front-line employees are poised at showing appreciation, thanking customers after a purchase or at the end of interactions.

But researchers found that most companies miss a golden opportunity to thank customers. When? After customers have given positive feedback.

You can see why that opportunity might be overlooked. Both sides got what they wanted. Customers had a great experience — and have said so — and the company got validation that they’re doing things right.

But customers who are thanked after they’ve been asked for feedback and given a positive review buy more frequently and spend more.

What researchers found

In the recent study from the Marketing Science Institute, researchers worked with a large company, sending surveys to nearly all customers within a day of a transaction. Researchers followed up with a thank-you email from the company president sent to half of the customers who responded to the original survey with positive feedback and top scores.

They tracked how often all customers who’d given positive feedback purchased again in the next year. Customers who got the thank-you note had 51% more visits and purchases than the customers who didn’t get the extra attention.

Best ways to say thanks

In this study, the company president sent an email to customers, thanking them for taking the time to give feedback and continuing to support the company.

That’s a personal, powerful way to connect with customers. Here are seven other effective tactics to thank customers and build relationships, sales and loyalty:

  1. Get the timing right. Researchers found that sending a thank-you message too soon after customers completed the survey actually decreased the benefits of showing appreciation. Customers who got a more immediate response likely overlooked it. Whereas, customers who experienced a delay between their survey submission and the thank-you note were reminded of their good experiences and were just about ready to buy again. Send a thank-you message about a week after customers respond to surveys.
  2. Connect with two groups. While researchers promote connecting with highly satisfied customers after you seek and get feedback, don’t overlook another important feedback group: dissatisfied customers. Thank them for being candid and giving you an opportunity to make things right. And once you fix the issue, thank them again for giving feedback.
  3. Do what’s unexpected. In this situation, the thank-you message worked so well because it was mostly unexpected, sent at at time customers never received something like that. Whatever kind of thank-you message you want to try, express it at an unexpected time in your customer experience cycle.
  4. Create a video. You can get the whole company involved and thank all of your customers in a special video message like this one. Or get a small group of employees together to do some special individual thank-you messages for a certain group of customers.
  5. Personalize it. A general thank-you message sent at the right time is effective (as the study showed us). But a more personal message that hits home is even more effective. For instance, if you’re sending a thank-you to a customer you know recently had a baby, send a children’s book. Or if a long-time customer recently finished cancer treatment, make a donation to cancer research organization in his or her name.
  6. Prepare an “amuse-bouche.” Many chefs have an amuse-bouche — an appetizer or small plate specially hand-created — ready to serve the best customers or customers who’ve run into a service glitch as a way to say thanks for their loyalty or patience. Find or create a special something as a unique thank-you to customers for important occasions.
  7. Make the occasion. You don’t have to wait until customers buy or give feedback to express extra thanks. Reach out when you know something special is going on in their lives. For instance, a bank keeps postcards handy so employees can send customers happy notes when they know something great is about to or has happened, such as vacation, marriage, new home or baby. At the end of the congratulatory note, employees can write, “and thanks for your loyalty.”

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