Ways B2B Businesses Can Show Client Appreciation

Hayley

Delighting clients is easy when you have trust and respect.

Our clients are important to us. We care about helping them achieve business goals, but we also care about them as individuals, as people. We’ll do whatever’s required to take care of them — even if that means putting in extra time to finish an unexpectedly cumbersome project. It’s from a place of respect and integrity that we finish what we start and strive to meet our clients’ needs. They are the “why” we do what we do. They are the reason our business is even possible.

While we’re not married to our clients, we do have a relationship with them. And as with any relationship, there needs to be mutual trust and respect. So, how does an agency like ours develop that, and how do we show our appreciation?

This may seem fundamental, but we aim to delight them through basic human touch points. Considering the various love languages is a great place to start. The popular book, The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, does a great job summing up the different ways people feel appreciated, loved, and valued. Here’s how we think about client appreciation and delight through this lens.

  1. Words of Affirmation. For some, verbal encouragement and affirmation is king. Phrases like these can hit the spot: “Awesome job at the conference. You guys rocked it!” or “Your sales are through the roof. Well done!” Using positive talk and encouraging words creates an incredible impact. Avoid phrases like, “What you should have done is...” or “That’s not going to work.” Words do matter, and they can make a difference. Those who identify with this love language may also appreciate the occasional social media shoutout or an upbeat review posted to their Google business listing.

  2. Gifts. Others truly feel appreciated when they receive gifts. It communicates to them that they’re not forgotten and that their work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Gifts can include a fruit basket, a holiday present, or an anniversary gift card. You could also consider stopping by their office unannounced to deliver warm donuts and freshly brewed coffee for the whole team.

  3. Acts of Service. Some feel that actions speak louder than words or gifts. Consider doing something you know your client will like and appreciate. Maybe you know your client loathes asking for business reviews, so on your own time you formulate an email campaign that gets the job done for them. They didn’t ask for it, and it may not be  included in their retainer, but that extra 30 minutes of your time could truly communicate your depth of care. Or you could show your support by visiting them at a conference or trade show. If they have a booth, you could delight them by bringing lunch or a mid-afternoon smoothie.

  4. Quality Time. Another way to show appreciation is through time spent and undivided attention. Those who value quality time would enjoy a team lunch or an afternoon coffee meeting away from the office. This also means putting away the phone — no emails or texts while you’re together. Your attention should be solely on them.

  5. Physical Touch. For those who are huggers, you can appropriately show support and encouragement with a pat on the back, a handshake, or a high five. These are great ways to show appreciation to those who have a tactile love language.

As you think about your clients and how you can most effectively show your appreciation, it’s an ideal time to evaluate the love languages of others around you. What makes your teammates feel valued? What makes you feel the most appreciated?

There's so much more to this topic. We've just scratch the surface. For more ways to delight your customers, read HubSpot's post, The Ultimate Guide to Customer Delight.

Who are your clients?

Beyond their business name and the About Us description on their Facebook page, what else do you know about them? What are their pain points? What are their strengths? What's their company culture like? How do they communicate with one another and with you?

Those are a lot of questions and a lot of information to figure out, but knowing these things — and more — about each client helps you to understand what makes them tick and how you can best delight them. Identifying these things may also help you build out your buyer personas, which may help you better target more clients like them.

Speaking of . . . have you recently reviewed your personas? Maybe it’s time to look through them again to see if more robust research is needed or perhaps a few tweaks are necessary.

There are a couple of different ways you could gather information about current and potential clients. To start, dig into the information at your fingertips.

  • Look through your list of contacts. Are there any trends that you see?
  • Study the problems you solve for clients. Are these problems universal?
  • Get feedback from your sales team. What are your buyers looking for?
  • Gather information from your clients. What do they like about your partnership?

This is just a short list of action items to get you thinking. From here, you can conduct online research and data analysis, send out surveys to potential clients, set up one-on-one interviews, or post polls on social media.

When you’re ready to dive deeper, find out where your target audience is spending their time.

  • Get the inside scoop on social media. Are your clients engaging on Facebook, or are they spending more time on LinkedIn?

  • Examine their personal profiles. What kind of content are they posting, liking, and sharing? Is the content educational or entertaining?

  • Monitor online activity. Do your clients spend their entire day glued to their desk, or are they out in the manufacturing line, assembling products for distribution? What times are they active, and what times are they inactive?

  • Analyze company role and personality traits. Is your client head of Business Development or Operations? Are they overseeing all the moving parts in the business, or are they focused on one area of expertise?

Understanding your personas’ behaviors, goals, and motives will help you target others like them. It may also shed some light on their potential love languages and the best ways to show appreciation. That’s winning for everyone!

As you go about your day, here are two things to mull over:

  1. What are some things you can do to show appreciation to your customers? How can you delight them on an ongoing basis? Create a list of ideas on your own then brainstorm with your team.
  2. Do you have a good handle on your buyer personas? If not, spend some time focusing on them. If you don't already have personas or if you need help buttoning them up, our free workbook will help.

Download the Workbook to Create Buyer Personas

Do tech startups need buyer personas to gain traction, too? Find out.

Originally published February 20, 2019 at 9:17 AM

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