It’s amazing how far a simple “thank you” can go, whether it’s in your personal or your business life. When it comes to customers, only 9% leave because of what a competitor offers, but 68% of businesses have lost a customer because they felt the company was indifferent to them.

How can you harness the power of appreciation? Here are 8 ways to thank your customers or vendors this season – an annual habit that is worth turning into year-around gratitude.

Send a handwritten note:  Handwritten notes have gone by the wayside, so taking a few minutes to hand-write a personal message to your valued client or vendor is worth your time, and appreciated by the recipient as well.

Pick up the phone:  Take time out of your schedule to call to say thanks. The call takes just a few minutes, but the impression you leave will last much longer.

Send a small gift:  People don’t always expect something from a vendor. Surprise and impress them with a small, thoughtful gift. While it’s nice to be personal when you can, it’s often not possible, so a useful item – something a little different from the usual pen or mug – is a good choice.

Offer a discount or a freebie:  Offering clients a discount for services or products makes them feel special and lets them know you value their business. Another option is to give them something for free periodically. Include a special thank you note with the discount or freebie to let them know why they received it.

Give them a shout-out:  Consider giving your clients a shout-out on your social media sites, in your electronic newsletter, or in your place of business on an announcement board or other public location.

Make a commercial:  It’s so simple now to record and post a video with your phone. Consider recording a periodic “thank you” video featuring one customer or vendor and post it on your website, blog, or YouTube site.

Thank complaining customers and potential customers who said “No”: That’s right, unhappy clients deserve a thank you as well. Complaining customers are going out of their way to tell you why they’re dissatisfied, rather than just disappearing from your radar. This generally means they’d still like to do business with you, assuming you can fix the issue. When a customer complains, thank them first for their business, then explain how you will make things right and offer an exclusive coupon to be used on a future visit.

Or maybe a prospective client tells you they appreciate your effort and yet you still don’t get the business. You did a great job, but the client ultimately decided another business was a better match.

Send back a note thanking them for taking the time to consider your product or service. Let them know you’re always available should they need your assistance. It just may help keep you in the potential client’s mind the next time they or someone in their acquaintance require your specific expertise!

Make referrals:  Your clients may have a business as well (and your vendors obviously do!) A great way to say thank you for their business is by sending them business. Make referrals as often as possible to show how grateful you are for their loyalty. Few things are more appreciated.

Simply saying “I appreciate all you’ve done/offered” goes a long way in showing the respect you have for others. Next time you’re hard pressed for a way to show appreciation, just say it, and mean it. Being valued and noticed are gifts of appreciation that are worth more than any other.