“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
Several years ago I was given a book called “Simple Abundance.” It’s a compilation of essays for women to help us encounter what Oprah says is our “authentic self.” Well, as a person who always has her nose to the grindstone in my work (and chasing after three boys), I have never found the time to read this book. But I wanted to end this year with some food for thought to all of you. My mind kept leaping to one theme – gratitude.
As I remembered reading something on that subject on the back cover of “Simple Abundance,” I dusted it off and found what I was looking for. In one of the chapters, the author suggests keeping a gratitude journal and writing one thing down each day that you are thankful for. This is a great way to reflect on and record the events and people that made your day better.
Having consciousness of thanks is only the start. Next up is showing thanks. Appreciation takes many forms. From formal thank-you letters to casual phone calls to notes scribbled on business cards, personal gestures of gratitude make a recipient feel special. In the limousine industry, among the most personal of industries, saying thank you makes good business sense. People will forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
How frequently do you make your customers feel “special?” Or, as Jim Cecil, founder of Nurture Marketing, would say, “Have you written them a love letter lately?” The human condition is such that we love to be acknowledged. And, believe it or not, your customers are human. Here are just a few ways off the top of my head that can make your customers feel special:
1. Do you have telephone messages on hold? If so, how about mentioning your customers? For instance: Our growth is based on your success and we’d like to welcome ABC Company and XYZ Corporation to our family of satisfied clients. Or, in this hectic world, we’d like to take a moment to thank CD & Associates and the LMN Group for their confidence in us over the years.
2. Do you use e-mail? How about sending a few every day to your clients that say, “Just thinking of you today, hope everything is going well. If you ever need me for anything, just call. Have a great day!”
3. Regardless of your contact-by-policy program (e.g. newsletters), send one of Cecil’s love letters at least once a year.
4. Solicit testimonials and endorsements, then use them in your overall marketing and advertising. They lend credibility to each advertisement or marketing piece, while promoting your clients as well. Everybody wins!
5. Are you Web empowered yet? If so, have a weekly page highlighting one of your clients. They’ll appreciate the exposure – and they’ll tell their friends who just might visit your Web site and become clients.
6. Set up client-based alliances. Many of your clients may offer services that are used by others in your client base. Set up an intra-client referral and discount program as a value-added service.
Remember, a client who is made to feel special will regard you with loyalty and referrals.
As 2004 comes to a close, I would like to thank all of you for reading LCT and for attending our events, such as the LCT Leadership Summit and the LCT Show. Without your support and continued allegiance there simply would be no LCT. No LCT would mean no publisher position for me... so I suppose you can guess what my next Gratitude Journal entry will be! (Smile.)
We all wish you a Happy Holiday season and hope for great things in the coming New Year.
Warmest Personal Regards (and more thanks),