As we approach the holiday season, it only makes sense that you might become more mindful of how you express—and experience—gratitude.
It’s easy to see how gratitude might affect one’s outlook and personal relationships. Study after study confirms the positive impact of what focusing on gratitude can have. In a survey conducted by the polling firm Penn, Schoen, Berland and overseen by Janice Kaplan, of over 2,000 respondents, over 90% indicated that expressing gratitude made them “extremely happy” or “somewhat happy”.
So how does this apply to the world of business and marketing?
No matter the dynamic, all relationships have one common denominator: people. We are all human beings with unique needs, wants, and goals.
B2B and B2C relationships are no exception. So how can we go about fostering these relationships? Let’s take a deeper look:
While it may seem self-explanatory, but in any relationship, it is vital to be present and accessible. What does being present and accessible mean in the realm of business relationships? It may be as simple as literally being there. Schedule regular meetings with your partners to exchange ideas and work through any challenges that may arise. Actual interfacing is invaluable, but it may not always be possible in the current (pandemic) atmosphere. The most important thing is to let your partners know that you are available, open to communication and that you value their time.
Tell your partners how much you value the relationship. A literal, written, or spoken “thank you” can go a long way. While it was once standard to send a token of appreciation following a business interaction —be it a thank you note, flowers, or a gift– the practice seems to have fallen by the wayside. It seems many feel the “thank you” is implied, and therefore, not necessary. While there may be no requirement for an explicit demonstration of gratitude, the simple act of saying “thanks” can be enough to make your business stand out amongst the rest.
When you do what is necessary to maintain the relationship, it demonstrates to your client that you respect their needs and strive to ensure those needs are a priority. A true partner is always looking out for your best interests and remains focused on your shared success—not just that of one partner or the other. You’re on the same team—root for each other! Be transparent and admit fault when it is warranted; it can help your customer feel valued.
Nurture the Relationship
It can be easy to get caught up in the “honeymoon phase” of relationships when they are just beginning. While it’s great to be excited about potential customers, we must not forget our existing customers. After all, our current customers are our bread and butter and the reason behind our existence! It’s essential in any relationship to check in from time to time and reflect upon what’s working (and what isn’t). Re-examine your mutual goals and develop a concrete strategy for attaining them. Be accessible—both virtually and in person. Most importantly, let your customers know that they are seen and appreciated.
It’s common to send gifts during the holiday season, but consider sending tokens of appreciation “just because” throughout the year to make the sentiment even more unique. A gift, hand-written note, or even a brief phone call “checking in” can make all the difference. Authentic gratitude often leads to a reciprocal (and multiplied) response. If customer loyalty is your goal, expressions of authenticity, gratitude, and generosity are the way to go.