How many businesses distinguish gratitude from appreciation? The difference is thinking versus doing.

Author Gertrude Stein famously said that “silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.” On the other hand, appreciation is gratitude in action. Appreciation is the act of acknowledging the efforts and actions of others, including those of your most loyal customers.

The American Society for Quality found that businesses are simply not serving their customers adequately. This is reflected in a survey about why individuals and companies stop purchasing from a particular provider:

  • 1% die
  • 3% move away
  • 9% switch to competitors
  • 14% leave due to dissatisfaction with a product or service
  • 68% quit because of a perceived attitude of indifference

The 68% figure jumps out due to its enormity and how easily it can be avoided. Note that it cites a perceived attitude of indifference as a major factor in customer dissatisfaction—meaning that the gratitude that you feel for your customers may be worth very little unless you demonstrate some appreciation for their support.

For some businesses, simply doing the job for which it was hired is enough to keep most customers satisfied. But why stop with providing the minimum acceptable levels of service? Everyone wants to be appreciated. Businesses that find meaningful ways to connect with customers will stand head and shoulders above an increasingly crowded and indifferent marketplace.

In the words of football great and accomplished businessman Roger Staubach, “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”