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Building Customer Loyalty With Receipts, Invoices, and Packing Slips (Yes, Really!)

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Every business sends receipts, yet few ever give them a second thought. Don’t make that mistake.

Receipts are something that most of us certainly think of as boring.

That is, if we think of them at all.

I know that mine, unless I need to save them for taxes, tend to get crumpled up and left around until I decide to throw them away.

And that’s not good.

A receipt, by definition, is a record of a transaction. Often, it’s the only record of a transaction with you that your customer has.

Don’t you want them to remember that transaction in a positive way? The entire transaction, from learning about you, to buying from you, and even to getting a receipt?

Receipts, invoices and packing slips are a huge, mostly untapped opportunity to deliver great customer experiences.

Below are six ways to make sure that you don’t miss that opportunity:

1) Show Your Customer the Value That They’re Getting

Sure, your customer paid you money, but what, exactly, did they get for that money?

I’m not talking about a single word or line describing the product (e.g., “August Subscription”), but something that reinforces the value that you’ve delivered, so that the customer doesn’t just see the price they paid, but the positive return on that investment, too.

There are a number of ways you can do this, including showing the customer how much time they’ve saved or money they’ve earned using your product.

2) Show Your Customer the Money That They’re Saving

A positive return on investment doesn’t necessarily mean your product has to make money for the customer.

Saving your customers money makes them happy, and it’s a loyalty-builder worth reminding them about on their invoice.

This tactic has been used by brick-and-mortar stores and pharmacies for a long time. I’m sure you recognize this:

But the same principle can be applied to online businesses.

You could show your customers how much they’re saving over an alternative solution…

Or, if you offer an annual plan or bundled pricing, you can show the customer how much they’re saving by choosing the package:

And yes, you could even use this tactic to help sell your annual plans and bundles by showing the customer how much they could save.

3) Make Your Customer Smile

If you’re doing customer service right (and if you read this blog, you probably are), then your customers aren’t just the people who buy from you; they’re your loyal fans that truly value their relationship with you (and in fact, that’s why they buy).

There’s a reason they like you. For many companies, that reason may be a unique brand or voice that the business possesses.

That voice can be funny, quirky, friendly… anything, really. But your customers know it as yours.

Still, many receipts and invoices that come from even the most brand-centric of companies suffer from being boring.

Why not inject your voice and tone into your receipts, too?

Look at how Photojojo makes their customers smile with their packing slips…

They turn their receipts into opportunities to strengthen their customer relationships and build new ones when their customers share their experiences with their friends.

4) Share a Heartfelt Thank You (With Personality)

Because your customers love you, they’re not just buying from you simply because of the product; they love to support you by doing business with you.

Buffer knows that they’ve built a company whose customers appreciate not just the app, but the values and team behind the company, and their receipts are always heartfelt and full of gratitude for helping make Buffer possible.

We already know that gratitude is one of the most powerful customer service principles, and receipts and invoices are the perfect place to let your customers know you appreciate them.

5) Add a Personal Touch

Enhancing a packing slip doesn’t have to mean getting overly creative or fancy.

It could be as simple as adding a small personal touch that reminds your customer that they’re doing business with people who care about them.

One great way to do that is with a short handwritten note, like the ones used by GlamourBox:

6) Share Your Company’s Other Offerings With the Customer

Another way to deepen your relationship with your customer – while increasing your business’ revenue at the same time – is through upsells and cross-sells.

If your customer already loves one product you sell, there’s a good chance they might also get value from other choices in your product line.

Since your customer is already receiving a delivery from you, you have a great opportunity to let them try something else that you offer.

Many companies find that sending free samples with paid orders, like Penzey’s does for customers who order their spices, helps to increase the lifetime value of their customers.

SaaS businesses can do this too, by offering free trials of other products with each emailed receipt.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Delight Your Customers

Whether you set these up yourself, or use a service like Receiptful (which creates absolutely gorgeous receipts with easy-to-use functionality for upsells, customization and many of the tactics covered above), receipts are a huge—and often missed—opportunity to build better relationships with your customers.

What are your favorite receipts and invoices that you’ve ever gotten?

Share in the comments below!

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About the Author

Len Markidan heads up marketing at Groove. He’s focused on helping startups and small businesses build better relationships with their customers.

Read his latest posts or follow him on Twitter

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