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Offering a thank you gift to your customers solidifies their loyalty and also encourages new people to become regulars. A 2011 study showed that even a small expression of thanks strengthens a customer’s and an employee’s connection with a business. Even a small gift of a keychain or a free “amuse bouche” encouraged customers to spend 46.4% more in a visit.

According to Harvard Health, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” These are all things you want associated with your business!

However you choose to show your gratitude, make sure you have a plan to promote it on your social media before, during, and after, and seek out feedback from customers and employees to improve your plans for next year!

Here are five ways, from biggest to smallest, to spread the gratitude.

  1. Host a free after hours event or breakfast for your regular customers and tell them to bring a guest. Whether you’re a restaurant, retail establishment, or a service provider, a thank you event with no strings or pitch attached is an investment in your relationships. It’s also a great way to test out new products or offerings you’re working on. Allowing each invitee to bring one guest who has never used your business before doubles its impact.
  2. Hand out mystery gifts like they’re Wonka Bars. Announce that everyone who comes in at a certain time and date will receive a “thank you card” with a mystery gift inside, and advertise the bigger-ticket items, like a high-value gift card, free meal, or note saying they’ve won a larger item. Make sure each card has a sincere, hand-written thank you message inside. You and your team can write them all ahead of time in the week leading up to the big day. Most of the “gifts” can be coupons for 10% off your next purchase so everyone gets something.
  3. Facilitate giving. Become a place where people can go to be givers. Launch a little free library at your location or simply survey your customers to find out what local organizations you should support and how. Or partner with a local charity to collect donations or supplies during a set timeframe.
  4. Shout out their names on social media. People love to be acknowledged and noticed. Look at your analytics to see what followers regularly like, share, or comment on your posts, and make a special post thanking (and tagging) them specifically.
  5. Give surprise upgrades. Empower your employees to recognize their regulars and give them an unexpected treat. Whether it’s comping an item on their bill, giving a predetermined, pre-wrapped gift, or upgrading their service to a higher paid level for free, both the customer and the employee will get a boost of goodwill toward your business.

As Tom Peters says in his book, The Pursuit of Wow!, “People don’t forget kindness.” How will you make your business unforgettable?