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Management And Training

Customer appreciation

September 19, 2010
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Last month, I discussed employee appreciation.

This month is a continuation of the appreciation approach with ways to show appreciation to our customers.

Customers have a sense of which companies are appreciative and which are only there to collect a check.

Traditional methods of showing appreciation have been relegated to once a year, around the holiday season, when a card and small gift or token is sent to the customer’s building.

Stand out
To be noticed, we need to think differently — away from tradition.

Ideas could include regular visits to the work site throughout the year, bringing a small token of appreciation each time, or schedule a lunch with your building contact three or four times per year to discuss things other than the service you provide.

What I am saying is that to stand out, bring the usual relationship to a higher level.

Every vendor uses the holiday season to promote their spirit of giving, but to be different, we should be giving all the time.

That does not always mean gifts or tokens; it could be something as simple as our time.

Make customers stand out
Customers like to feel special, and we should make it our goal to help them feel that way often.

Customers want us to know them as people and anticipate their needs and wants.

The only way to accomplish this is to get in front of them as often as possible.

Show them we care by giving them our time in a busy world.

We can show them we are also interested in them as people.

Find out their likes, dislikes, and what is important to them.

I was in an office for a lunch visit and watched as a transportation vendor made a big splash by bringing about 10 sausage pizzas.

Although it was a nice gesture, the building was mostly inhabited by vegetarians, who already had lunch provided by a vendor who took the time all year to find out the details of their operation.

Talk about falling flat.

The vendor offered the food a bit sheepishly and left.

The pizzas were donated to the local Salvation Army.

Clear communication
When we show we do not care, we send an inconsistent message.

We worked hard with the contact people, had many phone calls or meetings while trying to land the account, and once we secure the account, many times we never see the contacts again unless there is a problem.

This is typical of many service companies.

We need to remember what got us in the door in the first place and keep following up with our people so they feel comfortable after the decision has been made.

Marketing is nothing more than showing the difference between your company and others that offer similar services.

If you can show potential customers that your company really cares, you’ll have an edge on the competition.

Also, by showing you appreciate customers more than your competition, it creates a word-of-mouth buzz in your market, drawing more customers to your company.

That’s a win-win.

Dane Gregory is a business consultant with many years in the trenches with his own cleaning company. He currently is a full-time trainer on technical and management issues that affect cleaning companies worldwide. He also offers a business opportunity with stone, ceramic tile and grout care and maintenance. You can view this opportunity at or contact him at

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