As I walked into the Post Office yesterday, I noticed a big, new sign on the door. It read, “We appreciate your business.” It made me pause. I thought of the many times I’ve interacted with the people who work there, and have never heard those words uttered. Why is it that we need to post signs to express appreciation? Is saying “thank you” to the customer such a cumbersome task that signage is needed?
I immediately thought of the oddities we’ve created around saying “thank you” to the customer. One of these is customer appreciation days. Customer appreciation days send a message that appreciation is a special event. A producer who builds a culture rooted in the value of appreciating customers, communicates gratitude on a consistent basis as well as demonstrates it in their day to day operations and does not need a special day to do so.
These occasions to honor customers are probably rooted in good intentions. However, wouldn’t daily expressions of sincere appreciation outdo an annual event?
Appreciation can be expressed in many ways. It is the genuine “thank you for your business” spoken by dispatch. It is the random call from the sales department just to see how the contractor’s business is doing. It is the extra care from the QC department ensuring the right mix. It is a “lunch and learn” to support customers in getting the knowledge they need. It is a bottle of cold water delivered by the driver with their load.
The expression of appreciation does not need to be anything formal. Can you imagine how powerful it would be if each person took a moment to say “thank you for the privilege of serving you” in their own way? A customer who experiences this from three of four people during the course of their day would know they were valued. Everyday can be customer appreciation day — if we choose to make it so.
Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.