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Updated: Jan 30, 2019

by Joshua Dew

Everyone wants to feel special in some way. This is often why people contact Vagrant Coffee, to make their event special. When we show up with our custom table or slick Mini Cooper and make custom drinks for the guests, they feel special and in that moment, that’s our only goal. For so many people that’s where the “special” stops. But what if it didn’t? What if the essence of this “special” feeling never fizzled out, but could be rekindled, even long after the event was said and done? For instance, is it plausible that a simple “thank you” follow up can put a quintessential cherry on top of the already iced cake?

One of the things that I often hear from party hosts is that their interactions with their caterer or event planner were merely transactional. Once the event is over, you can’t even remember their name or what you had them provide. This issue seems to plague the service industry in a major way. Is it because the service at the event was sub par? Do people simply not expect more from the service industry? Maybe it is a side effect of our culture that is simply focusing on other things.

There is one way for service providers to keep the excitement high with those they served; follow up!

Why should you invest valuable time and energy with a follow up with someone when an event is over? Just because you have made a sale, it does not mean that you have yet made a customer. A sale is only one transaction whereas a customer is a lifesource for future revenue for your business. A sale quickly burns out like a match and is forgotten, but a customer is like the fuel to a fire. A sale cannot create any new business, but a customer tells all their friends and creates new avenues for growth. A customer comes back and gleefully chooses to return. Whatever reason led them to book you in the first place doesn’t really matter; it’s the reason to return that is so compelling and matters most here when creating a customer! They know how you work because they’ve seen you at your best. Now it’s time to seal the deal and make them a faithful customer for life by incorporating a “thank you” follow up!

A detailed “thank you” shows that they weren’t just another wheel in a cog for you. Show how well you paid attention to your customer’s needs by highlighting some of the notably positive outcomes that happened at the event without making it about how great you were, etc. Tell how participating in a “meaningful moment” positively impacted you and it will speak volumes to your client. Most of all, be sincere. False or fake enthusiasm will be easily noticed, so don’t waste your time making something up just to fill space.

Next, ensure you incentivize your customer to work with you again in the future. The easiest and most common ways is to offer discounts. This may not work for every scenario as it will likely involve giving up critical profit, but financial discounts are not the only incentives. Offering other relational connections can also provide incentive. For instance, if you are serving another business or cause, it is a great gesture to highlight them or their cause by promoting them on your social media feed, etc. When people know that you care about supporting them, they will not forget this and they will remember to support you when the time comes back around. Ultimately, relational connection incentives work best when you spend time getting to know your client and finding out what matters most to them. This will then guide your response accordingly.

Lastly, set the right price to build this in. Typical feedback regarding appropriate “thank you” operations is cost related. Thank you cards, gift baskets or other kind gestures are not always low cost or low effort. The best thank you efforts are about more than just the item or items you give them. “It’s the thought that counts” but it’s also the effort that you exhibit in the gesture. Remember when planning for an event, your costs have to include the margin to fund and supply the appropriate “thank you”. The funds and compensation for the time invested have to come from somewhere. Don’t kill your potential with prices that are too low.

In summary, 3 things to remember regarding “thank you” follow ups:

Be detailed and genuine in your “thank you” follow-up.

Incentivize “the reason to return” as future customers.

Incorporate appropriate “thank you” costs into your price.

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