Anytime is a great time to tell clients and employees “Thank you,” but doing it during the holidays is a particularly special moment. The words can be powerful and make a lasting impact because they leave the receiver feeling valued and appreciated.
First, hearing “Thank you” is a great motivator that acknowledges what the recipient has done, even if the action was expected. Feeling appreciated is a motivator, too, and what easier way to inspire somebody than to say thank you for something that was done?
Second, appreciation is critical to relationships, which we all understand are important in business. When employees or clients feel underappreciated, chances are that sooner or later they will look for employment or care elsewhere.
Here are nine ways to thank clients and employees this holiday season so you leave them feeling valued, appreciated and ready to help your practice succeed in 2017.
1. Thank You Cards
Simple yet effective, a thank you card can be impactful. Avoid cards featuring standard greetings and go for something personal and unique. For clients, maybe it’s a photo of their pet on the front and a handwritten note inside, or a custom-made card that the veterinary team fills out.
Either way, a card will put your practice name in the hands of clients and make them feel appreciated and valued.
2. Ask for Feedback
It seems counterintuitive to give thanks by asking for something, but soliciting client feedback is important to bettering a practice. Requesting a client’s opinions and thoughts leaves her feeling valued. Keep the survey short and simple, and spice things up by making it a contest—every survey completed is an entry to win a Thanksgiving- or Christmas-themed gift basket.
3. Social Take to Media
Post photos of clients and their pets on your social media accounts—with their permission, of course—and make them the star of your social networks. Sharing heartwarming stories of new adoptions, first-time puppy and kitten visits, and surgical recoveries are a few ways you can spread holiday cheer and increase your business following.
4. Give a Gift
One way to show appreciation to clients and employees is through a gift. It could be a complimentary product or service, a surprise upgrade, a goody bag of human or pet treats, or hot apple cider and hot chocolate in your waiting room.
5. Surprise Discount
Offering a surprise discount to loyal clients will have a profound effect because the gift shows you value pet owners and your relationship over their money. And by offering a surprise discount rather than promoting a discount or sale, you’re helping clients who were going to use your services anyway and aren’t one-and-done customers.
When the client checks out, point to a simple 10-percent discount notation on their bill and explain, with a smile, how you value their business and look forward to seeing them in 2017.
6. Host an Open House
Invite clients and the neighborhood to stop by for holiday treats, a visit with Santa or other fun activities. It’s a way to thank existing clientele and an entertaining way to engage potential clients. If your practice is close to other businesses, work with them to create a one-stop thank you event featuring Christmas shopping and more.
7. Support a Charity in Their Honor
The holidays are the season for giving. People love to patronize businesses doing good, so support a local charity near and dear to clients’ hearts. This is an impactful way to make a client feel honored and a part of doing good in the world. It also builds community goodwill for your practice.
8. Community Involvement
Does your town host a holiday event? Get involved in the event, and when you see clients there, greet them by name and thank them for attending.
Your involvement can include providing discounted rabies vaccinations or complimentary wellness check-ups during the event, if the offer is appropriate for the occasion. Come prepared with informational fliers or pamphlets about your practice and a treat or toy for their pet.
9. Service Review Customer
One more way to say thank you during the holidays and throughout the year is by providing exceptional customer service every single day.
Review your procedures and make updates where necessary. Ask your veterinary team about things that need to be improved.
Laura Trice, MD, gave a TED talk, “Remember to Say Thank You,” that explains why the words are important and why they should be heard more often. Her three-minute speech may be viewed below:
Stephanie Duncan is the communications coordinator at the Veterinary Hospitals Association, a cooperative based in South St. Paul, Minn.
Originally published in the November 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today!