This is the season we find ways to thank customers for their patronage. We might send customers a note, a card, a 2015 calendar, a ‘thank you’ email or a Starbucks card. If the customer habitually gives loyal patronage to other service providers, your expression of gratitude may look a lot like 12 others they receive. So, what are more innovative ways to thank your customers this year? Forget the hot air balloon with a love banner or any other pricey or creepy gesture. Customers value boldness, not weirdness!

Below is a list of twenty ways to add “sprinkles” to your “thank you” this year. Use this list to jump-start your own. Amplify the items to suit your situation and your customer. Remember, what turns on one customer may be a turn off to another. Recognition comes from the root word “cognoscere” meaning “to know.” Tailor your affirmation.

1. Invite a customer to an important staff meeting.
2. Arrange for a special learning experience for your customers.
3. Name a policy, building, or conference room after a key customer.
4. Provide a special parking space for a key customer.
5. Start a fund or scholarship in the name of a key customer.
6. Provide a donation in the name of your customer to his/her favorite charity.
7. Create a forum that enables a way for public recognition of your customers.
8. Send customers a subscription to a magazine they value.
9. Invite customers to your home for a cookout; or to the company picnic.
10. Provide tickets to a special event valued by the customer.
11. Nominate your customer for a special award.
12. Find ways to compliment your customer in front of their customers.
13. Post pictures of your customers in the cafeteria or break areas.
14. Invite customers to your facility to talk to employees about their goals.
15. Feature key customers in your organization’s blog or newsletter.
16. Re-gift to your customers a gift that you won…like a weekend at __.
17. Ask your customers for advice on how to better run your team or organization.
18. Loan your customers something important to him or her…your boat, a piece of equipment, or your vacation condo.
19. Volunteer your employees to help your customer during one of his or her most difficult times.
20. Have an employee team secretly wash your customer’s vehicle while the customer is in a meeting at your organization.

What makes a great cookie or cupcake special? Sprinkles. It is the same with how you say “thanks” to your customers. This year go bold, get innovative, and “add sprinkles.”