It's easy to make customers and donors want to come back again if you make them feel important. It's inexpensive—even free—to do it. But it doesn't happen by accident. It must be built into your brand and processes.
Are you building a feel-the-love culture?
give your message staying power
Recently, I've received handwritten notes from people in both businesses and non-profits:
- congratulations on an award
- thanking me for speaking at their event
- appreciation for a commitment of volunteer time and donations
- staying in touch
- thanking me for my purchase (wow!)
The content was different. The writers were different. But each sincerely thanked me and said "you're important and special." They meant it, and I felt it. Those are the notes that end up on my bulletin board. They have staying power.
The cost of the notecard and postage was under a dollar. The rewards are priceless, because I feel a warmth in my heart for these people and their organizations who took a moment to show me their appreciation. I will be back.
make it more habit than happenstance
Adminstrative Professionals Day, Boss Day and Customer Appreciation Week are all nice ideas. But if you're only thanking colleagues, customers and donors once a year, you're merely paying them lip service.
Don't forget suppliers and bidders. Without them, you're stranded!
Make gratitude part of your daily conversation and culture. When it becomes more habit than happenstance you create a brand that WOWs.
expect it of everyone in your organization
This is not just the job of the usual suspects. Everyone, in all departments, should be constantly on the lookout for ways to thank others.
Donor thank-yous (of course) are sent from fundraisers and development staff. But a thank-you culture should permeate your entire non-profit.
For-profts: you, too, should be thanking others all year long from all levels of your organization. You can use these same tactics just as easily:
- personal notes
- social media shout-outs
- announcements/praise in staff and board meetings
- a batch of homemade cookies
- a sincere, spoken thank you
- a feature in your eNews
- your website or intranet
give employees the tools
Make sure you have plenty of thank-you note cards and a modest budget for cookies, coffee or other branded ways to share the love.
During recruitment, onboarding and evaluations, make saying thank you to customers a written expectation. Measure against a specific set of criteria and create rewards for great results.
don't forget to thank each other
Colleagues should be encouraged to thank and appreciate their peers, as well as people in different positions on the org chart. That kind of love builds loyalty and low turnover that every organization needs to grow stronger and more profitable.
St. Mary's Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colorado has a terrific program to publicly thank employees. See our article on how they do it here.
Making someone else feel important doesn't have to cost a thing. But instituting a thoughtful process to do it will build your brand from the inside out. You'll reap huge rewards.
For help instituting your thank you culture, call Martha Bartlett Piland at 785.969.6203
Tags: business strategy, brand development, internal brand, customer service, brand loyalty, culture, fund raising