What's a good way to show appreciation to clients who refer others? (Sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health)
A referral is one of the highest compliments an organization can receive and, as such, deserves recognition. A card or letter to the referring client thanking them says that you recognize the referral as a compliment.
Clients who refer like to know their recommendations are followed through and that their efforts are appreciated. Not acknowledging referrals is a good way to stop getting referrals and that is not a desired effect.
You want to make the referring client feel like they've done something really great. Sign the thank you card as being from the entire staff (e.g., "Dr. Clippity Clop and Staff") After all, the referral is a compliment to the entire organization. You want the referring client to know that you understand the referral is due to the total effort of the entire staff.Adding a $10 gift certificate for designer coffee, donuts, movie tickets, or something similar adds a tangible touch to the thank you. This also reminds the referring client of you when they use the gift. A larger gift certificate to a restaurant may be appropriate to larger case referrals or a client who refers frequently. However, all gifts run the risk of being something the person won't use; hence, proceed with caution on the tangible gifts.
Regardless if you give the referring client a gift, nothing trumps the written thank you, which should be part of your corporate culture. A gift is a supplementary gesture to the source as a reminder of your gratitude.
Carl J. Lacher, CPA