“We know you have a choice when flying; thank you for flying American.” With this relatively simple slogan, American Airlines acknowledged a very important component of engaging with customers: saying thank you.
Your members have choices too. You may not be their only source for information and events highlighting their industry or profession. As such, it’s always a good idea to express your appreciation for their continued engagement with your organization.
Staples contributing writer Taylor Sisk highlighted four ways you can show customers your thanks. I’ve summarized them here in terms that I think are particularly applicable to associations.
- Make it personal. According to Sisk, “a simple but classy tactic is sending a handwritten note.” Whether sent via regular mail or electronically, a personal note of thanks is usually a welcome addition to someone’s in-box. Your members shouldn’t just hear from you when you want something.
- Do the unexpected. Your association could designate a particular publication or other item as your customer appreciation gift of the month or year. It doesn’t have to be something directly related to the profession or industry that your association represents. For example, some companies have sent out Dr. Seuss books or small gift baskets featuring local products. Whatever you decide to send, your members will appreciate a pleasant surprise thanking them for their support.
- Provide an opportunity for show and tell. Ask members to share photos or stories that feature them using your association’s products or services. Offer a prize for the person with the most interesting photo or story each month. Even if they aren’t the winning stories or photos, be sure to comment on each one and thank members for their submissions.
- Ask for their opinion. Consider sending a short survey to members after they’ve called or placed an order on your association’s website. As Sisk pointed out, “asking for that feedback indicates that not only are you grateful for your customers’ business, you also value their input.”
In general, you can’t say thanks too often or too fabulously. Throughout this month, we’ll highlight other great ways to express gratitude to members, volunteers, and other key stakeholders to your association.