We’re all used to getting invoices and statements from our insurers…auto insurance, homeowners insurance, umbrella policies…the cost of protecting the things we own, etc. So imagine my surprise when my insurance company sent me a package, out of nowhere, with a wonderful letter telling me how much they appreciate my business! That they actually VALUE my patronage. That they REALLY REALLY like having me as a longtime customer. In fact, they like me so much they were sending me an unsolicited gift: a nicely packaged and wonderfully practical, tire gauge, pen and flashlight to keep in the glove compartment of my car---just because they appreciate my business! Not only were my husband and I pleasantly surprised, but we shared this experience with friends and relatives to see their reaction. Uniformly the reaction was the same and along the lines of “my insurance company never does stuff like that---who are you with?”

Here’s another example: my favorite retailer recently sent me an anniversary card thanking me for being a loyal customer and providing a certificate to buy something in their store---on them! Again, a “surprise and delight” moment that I was happy to share with friends and relatives. In both instances, these were great investments on the part of the companies involved. Not only did they make me feel valued as a customer, the message that some companies actually reward loyal patrons was shared with others, increasing awareness of their brand and the favorable treatment loyal customers receive.

Companies invest considerable sums to acquire new customers--- we’ve all had the experience of being bombarded by marketers trying to woo us from their competitors. But what about investing in the customers you have already acquired? Ensuring that consumers who choose your business feel appreciated and valued? Saying “thank you for your business” in a way that will be meaningful and likely shared with others? A great investment in loyalty and repeat business and a great barrier to the hungry competitors trying to steal your customers every day.