Most customer relationships don’t end in conflict…most vanilla to death. Neglect is more dangerous than strife; indifference more costly than error. Great relationships are fueled by affirmation. Nurturing the bounty of customer loyalty requires more than proper cultivation and seeding. It must be fertilized with attention and care. “Courting” the customer does not end with the sale or transaction.

Superior service providers never take a valued relationship for granted and remain ever vigil for ways to celebrate the joy of the partnership and express gratitude for the return it provides. Just as the words “thank you” can be spoken in many different languages, gratitude can be expressed in many different ways.

Below are twenty-five ways to show customers your gratitude. Use this list to jump start your own list. Amplify the items to suit your situation and customer. Remember, what turns on one customer may be a turn off to another. Recognition comes from the root word “cognoscere” meaning “to know.” Know your customers and monogram your affirmation.

1.   Invite a customer to an important staff meeting
2.   Arrange for a special learning experience for customers
3.   Handwrite a thank you note to a key customer
4.   Send customers greeting cards on all key holidays and special days
5.   Name a policy, building, or conference room for a key customer
6.   Provide a special parking space for a key customer
7.   Start a fund or scholarship in the name of a key customer
8.   Provide a donation in the name of your customer to his/her favorite charity
9.   Provide a special discount for loyal customers
10. Create a forum that allows for public recognition of customers
11.  Remember a customer’s birthday in a unique and personalized way
12.  Send customers a subscription to a magazine they value
13.  Buy helpful books for key customers
14.  Invite customers to your home for a cookout
15.  Provide tickets to an event valued by the customer
16.  Nominate your customer for a special award
17.  Find a way to compliment your customer to their customer
18.  Put up pictures of your customer in the cafeteria
19.  Invite customers to talk about their needs and goals in front of all employees
20.  Feature key customers in your organization’s newsletter
21.  Give your customer a gift that you won…like a weekend at ___.
22. Poll your customer for their input on important changes you plan to make
23. Ask your customer for advice on how to better run your unit or organization
24. Purchase an ad in a key publication to thank your customers
25. Have an executive write a thank you letter to a key customer

What’s your favorite way to show customer love? We’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment with your best idea. If we use it in a blog or in the In-site section of the website, we will send you a free signed copy of The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service.