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When Expressing Thanks, Think Outside the Food Basket

White chocolate that says Thank you!

Is it really any wonder Americans struggle with obesity?  Just look at Thanksgiving — this uniquely American holiday has become more about food and feasting than about giving thanks. Thanksgiving and the holiday season, however, provide us the perfect opportunity to express our appreciation to customers.  But what’s a good way to sincerely say thanks?

This year, think outside the food basket, and do something different.  In his book, “The 5 Love Languages,” Gary Chapman describes five ways to express affection, but the same five methods could apply to expressions of thanks as well.

1. Words of Affirmation

When budgets and belts are tight, words are a cost-free and calorie-free way to say thanks.  But skip the Spam!  For clients that really matter, send a heart-felt hand-written note, or better yet, pick up the phone and make a call.

2. Quality Time

Nothing says you care, like giving clients your full, undivided attention.  Make some time to stop in and visit with them.  While you’re there, find out how you’re performing.  And, of course, don’t forget to thank them for their business.

3. Giving Gifts

Gifts can be a wonderful way to say thanks, but think beyond the high-fat goodies and pay it forward instead by making a contribution on your clients’ behalf to your local food bank or an area homeless shelter.

4. Acts of Service

The holidays are a perfect time for you and your employees to do service projects in the community, but how can those acts of service show clients you appreciate them? Coordinate a service activity that your customers and their employees can participate in with you, or if your clients have employees who need help this holiday season, perhaps they could be the beneficiary of your company’s philanthropic efforts.

5. Physical Touch

Touch may seem a bit inappropriate, but it doesn’t have to be entirely off limits. Coordinate a massage day. Send a masseuse to your client’s office to give chair massages to employees throughout the day.

This season, when looking for ways to thank your customers for their commitment, cut the calories and get creative.

Photo thanks to Flickr user stevendepolo

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