Have you ever received an unexpected gift, recognition or compliment? Those moments can delight and stick with you. The thought behind it feels meaningful — someone taking extra care to go out of their way to show that they appreciate you.
Guess what? That same spark you feel in that moment can apply to the workplace — and with your clients.
We all know what it’s like to experience the highs and lows of working, from emails and meetings to projects and Excel sheets. While it may not always be stressful, I think we can all agree that 2020 didn’t make working any easier this year. Let’s be honest, next year probably is going to test our strength as well. Your clients certainly feel the same way.
Now is the perfect time to start thinking of client appreciation ideas.
Appreciating your clients
The pandemic has disrupted many work environments. Some of the changes seem like they’re here to stay. People are working from home, job duties change without warning, workloads are fluctuating, and many have been laid off or furloughed. You might have had a client appreciation system before, but 2020 probably threw those plans off track.
You can’t stop by their office. You can’t meet them for lunch or coffee. You can’t always give them gifts.
Now more than ever, people value any form of comfort, kindness and connection. You have an opportunity to extend that to your clients. Showing them that you appreciate the work you do together while also acknowledging them on a personal level could make all the difference. We’re only human, after all.
At WriterGirl, we first got the idea for creating a formal client appreciation initiative from the book “The Power of Moments” by Chip & Dan Heath. This book pinpoints what sets important moments apart and makes them memorable. The authors share their ideas on how we can intentionally create meaningful moments and explain how something small can have a lasting impact on someone.
WriterGirl calls them “moment makers.” Moment makers are moments we create with our clients to show how we value them professionally and personally. They’re more than the everyday interaction of “Hi, hope you’re having a good day.” They rise above into the category of “special.” The difference between just plain customer service and creating your biggest fan is identifying and making significant moments.
“Our focus is on creating connections when we can’t meet our clients in person — and often can’t give them a gift.” –Karla Webb, Client Services Manager.
These moments could be anything small, like sending a funny meme, to big, like sending a gift basket filled with branded goodies. The point is to let our clients know we are always thinking of them and are genuinely grateful to be working with them.
Is this something you could be doing? Definitely.
You can reap some great benefits from your moment-making efforts.
Client appreciation helps to build your relationship with them. The more you connect with clients and get to know them, the more those relationships can grow. As their trust in you grows, the more confidence they have that you will do everything in your power to give them the best work possible.
Retention and referral
With that higher level of trust (and delivery of a great product), you are more likely to retain their business. A long-term partnership with a client can turn out to be more profitable than a one time, high-dollar deal. The more success and connection you both have with each other, the higher chance there is that they’ll refer you to someone else.
Without a client relationship, there are no sales. Without sales, there’s no business.
Spreading a little joy
Yes, a business’ goal is to make money. That’s how they produce a product and pay their employees. Moment makers aren’t solely about that, though. They’re about building a connection that can be fulfilling to both you and your client.
As a project manager, you talk to your clients almost every day and naturally build a relationship. You’ve heard stories about their workload, kids, pets and even when someone is sick. Creating a moment with them is only natural and could truly give you both a little happiness that day.
Setting up a client appreciation initiative
To get started, find out if your client contacts are allowed to accept gifts. Some companies, especially healthcare systems, don’t permit their employees to receive gifts from an outside partner. Not to worry, there are still plenty of moments you can create with them.
Try making a list of all the contacts of each of your different clients. Send them a survey asking if they would want to get a gift from you or any company rules against it. Be sure to have them fill out their home address as well since they are likely working from home these days.
Once you have your list set up, determine your company’s level of commitment to the initiative. How often do you want to show your appreciation? Are your employees on board? What resources are you going to use? What is your budget?
Moment makers don’t have to be complicated or break the bank. Here are some client appreciation ideas that could give you some inspiration:
- Snail mail/postcards
- Create custom memes
- Send a picture that you think they’d like
- Give them an award, ribbon, or trophy (ex. Most Grace Under Pressure)
- Experiment with designs in Canva
- Share a video
- Call without an agenda/check-in
- Send an interesting industry article
- Check in with an image instead of words
- Reach out in times of need
- Send gift baskets filled with curated items
- Recommend or endorse their skills on LinkedIn
- Send a fun survey to kick off a new client relationship
- Like and share client posts on social media
- Feature strong client work on your social media or in a blog
- Share a joke over email
- Remember something personal they mentioned (having a baby, getting married, favorite food, etc.)
You know your client and the relationship you have with them the best. If they wouldn’t appreciate a silly meme, don’t send one. Like with any “gift,” tailor it to the recipient.
WriterGirl Moment Makers
When we started this initiative, we asked ourselves: “How do we create moments with our clients that will stand out?”
We looked to our core values for the answer.
- Be curious about client transitions — beginnings, endings and milestones
- Feel empowered to reach out in ways that are kind and fun
- Make the important moments really count
Here are some of the moment makers we’ve facilitated so far.
Recently, we sent some of our clients a care package that included games, a WriterGirl branded face mask, cards and a handwritten note.
WriterGirl branded baby onesie
“I sent one to a client out in Montana when his wife had their first baby. The package included a WriterGirl onesie and some children’s books that my kids loved when they were small. I included a personal note. He responded right away with a thank you, and a few months later, he sent me a picture of his smiling baby girl in the WriterGirl onesie with the caption ‘Future WriterGirl?’” – Alice Churchill, Client Services Manager
When a client recently bought a new home, our client services manager sent this personalized, funny GIF!
When specific new projects open, Lyn Engle, client services manager, sends out a postcard via snail mail with a note that says, “WELCOME. Thanks for choosing WriterGirl as your content partner. It’s so nice to meet you and get started on your project. Please reach out if you need anything at all.”
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