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“Thank you” are two words that we all speak on a daily basis—or at least we should. You might have said them the last time someone passed you the rolls at the dinner table or held the door open for you or a co-worker helped you out with a report. While these words are always wonderful to hear, they can become a phrase we repeat out of habit, devoid of meaning.

Given that January is National Thank You Month, it is the perfect time to explore ways to genuinely express gratitude to business customers. If you’re a contractor, you know that customers are the life blood of your business. You can show customers how important they are by taking a more generous approach to customer interactions. These positive interactions help to establish a more positive work environment where people come first. It creates a place that draws in both employees and clients.

Often, business owners wait until their business is doing well to offer incentives to customers. However, if you can build loyalty among patrons early on, they will help support your business while you ride out the ups and downs that come with business ownership. There are many different ways to show customer appreciation. Here are a few ideas that can be adapted to fit your business and customer needs.

Educate Your Customers

When a person hires an expert to install a deck or build a cedar fence around their property, they are trusting the knowledge and experience of that contractor. Take the time to share some of your expertise with your clients. They will feel more comfortable doing business with your company if they understand your product better. Educating the customer can also help you stay in touch even after the job is completed. Send them information on maintaining and caring for their new fence in the form of a mailer, email, or video message. You can even reach out by phone. Taking this extra step to impart some of your knowledge will help your client feel valued.

Reach Beyond Digital Communication

We live in a digital age. More and more, business interactions are taking place via email and text message. These tools are quick and easy ways to communicate that save a lot of time during the workday. They allow us to send and receive messages when it is convenient for us. However, customers will appreciate it if you take the time to communicate with them via phone call, face-to-face or with a handwritten note. By taking the extra time to talk to them and answer questions, you send the message that they are important enough to be worthy of your time.

Allow for Special Circumstances

We have all been in the position of the desperate client. The one that comes up 25 cents short at the cash register or arrives just as the store is closing on a momentous occasion. The actions that you decide to take in such moments clearly communicate your feelings toward your client base. If you can act on your best judgment and be generous rather than adhering rigidly to the rules, you will not only win over the person you are helping, but you may earn some well-deserved referrals. People remember those that support them when they are in need.

Give to a Special Cause

There are many worthy charities. Because we all have unique circumstances, each one is special to someone. Get to know your clients and find out what matters to them. If you are in a position to do so, consider donating to a charity on their behalf. You may also choose to give a percentage of your sales or earnings back to a need unique to the community that you serve.

It doesn’t take money to support a cause, though. You can also promote a client’s business through your social media, refer friends to their business, or ask them to teach a workshop to your employees. The bottom line is to be there for your customers the way that they are there for you.

Surprise Them

Loyal customers stick with a business that they know they can count on to provide the same quality service every time. You can show them how much you appreciate that loyalty by giving them an unexpected upgrade. You might surprise them with a discount on your services, a gift certificate to a restaurant or a free promotional item (hat, pen, etc.) bearing your company logo.

Offer Something for Nothing

This strategy for showing gratitude to your client base can be especially effective during difficult times. The year 2020 has not been friendly to the economy or consumers. Still, some businesses found ways to give something back to their customers during a time of need. The act of giving back shows that you value the customer and don’t want to profit from their misfortune.

Regardless of how you decide to thank your customers, showing genuine gratitude is a great way to do business. It helps build a positive working relationship with your clients, an uplifting workplace for your employees, and generate repeat and referral business. Most of all, it shows the importance of customers in the success of every business venture.