From giving clients thoughtful gifts to celebrate holidays and occasions to special deals for loyalty, there are a lot of ways to show customer appreciation in the modern world. Customer appreciation is important in an increasingly digital and technology-driven world. It sets businesses apart when they build a human connection with their customers.
Customer appreciation shows you’re willing to go the extra mile on behalf of customers and that you will make for them. You are showing that you value your customers.
Below is a guide to everything modern businesses should know about customer appreciation.
What is Customer Appreciation?
Customer appreciation is a way to show gratitude to the people who keep your business going. A customer appreciation strategy can be used as a way to reward loyal customers and show them they’re important to the success of the brand.
We can also look at customer appreciation as a gifting strategy that helps you go beyond your products and services to engage customers and build positive, strong, long-term relationships.
It’s a marketing strategy that recognizes your best customers. There’s an art to helping your customers feel engaged and to showing gratitude, which boosts referral rates and retention. Customer appreciation is proactive, and simply showing gratitude is the foundation. Over 70% of customers say they’re more likely to recommend a company when it has a good loyalty program they feel caters to their experience. An estimated 68% of customers say they won’t buy from companies they don’t feel care about them.
There’s a psychological and emotional benefit as well.
Particular benefits of customer appreciation include:
- Your brand value increases. If you’re a brand with more satisfied customers and good feedback and reviews, you’re going to be more competitive in the larger marketplace. You can create a positive impression and then get more customers through word-of-mouth referrals.
- If your customers love your brand and the service you provide them, it raises customer loyalty. After you earn the trust of customers, they’re not going to go anywhere else to get the same products or services that you offer. You’re going to be able to grow your business as such.
- When you make your customers feel special, while it’s a longer-term endeavor, you’ll see growth in your profits.
- Appreciation generates word-of-mouth marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing is low-cost and high-impact. When you make people feel special, they’re going to share your brand with other people.
Customer Appreciation Day
Every day should be a customer appreciation day to have a strong brand, but there’s also an official day that you can make extra special. National Customer Appreciation Day is April 18, but you can always choose a different day if you’d like while still celebrating in small ways throughout the year.
If you’re going to do a customer appreciation day, make it well-advertised, so your customers know you’re planning it. You don’t want it to go unnoticed.
General Ways to Show Customers You Appreciate Them
The following are some general ways to show appreciation for your customers:
- Write thank you cards. Thank you cards are an old-fashioned yet always effective way to show appreciation. We all like to receive a handwritten thank you note from time to time. Don’t use a thank you card as a way to pitch a sale. It should only be about the customer and not about your customer. Make it as personal as you can.
- Send out gift cards or coupons. You can also include these with a thank you card.
- Do customer spotlights. This is a fun way to showcase your most valuable customers, and they’ll have fun with it. You can do a profile and post it on your blog or social media pages. You can ask your customers directly or send an email and see who might be interested. It gives you good content for your social media channels, along with improving your customer experience.
- Create a customer loyalty program. Loyalty programs help keep your customers around, and they’re going to come back again and again if you’re offering worthwhile offers and perks.
- Provide free upgrades, especially if you have a subscription-driven business. For example, software companies can offer complimentary upgrades so their long-term customers can try new features for free.
- Distribute swag. Swag is fun and exciting, and it’s something everyone loves. Plus, it’s promotional for your brand. Customers remember brands that give them promotional items, and they’re twice as likely to have a positive impression with this type of advertising compared to an online ad.
- Send personalized gifts. This is a big one—you’re really going the extra mile to show your customers you care and you’re interested in their happiness.
- Pay attention to detail. Customer service is a place where even the smallest details matter. You can solve customer problems by being detail-oriented in everything you do. Maybe this means that your customer service team learns more about your good customers and can then point them in the direction of the right products for them and make tailored suggestions. When you know what your customers need, and you’re helping them find solutions, that in and of itself shows that you’re dedicated.
- Check-in regularly. Businesses will often complete a transaction, and that’s the end of it as far as their communication with the customer. If you want to be a brand that builds relationships, you can follow up with your customers regularly after the transaction to make sure their needs are still being met. For example, check-in shortly after a purchase to see how happy the customer is with the product or service. Maybe they need some help with onboarding, and this is a time you can go above and beyond to show appreciation. When you’re proactive, you’re also saving customers time if they need anything from you.
- Personalization is one of the most critical elements of being successful in today’s business world. Customers don’t just want personalization. They demand it. You’re showing you notice your customers, and we briefly talked about above how that can make such a difference in the experience they have with your brand and business.
- Listen to your customers and get to know them just like you would anyone else. You can also use data and analytics to track what your customers have bought in the past and what areas they’ve needed help with, and you can keep track of all the interactions they have with your team. Then you can start to look more deeply into customer insights and find patterns that can be helpful in showing appreciation.
- Support causes that are important to your customers. Customers increasingly want brands they do business with to support issues that are important to them in an authentic way and reflect their own values. Maybe you support a charitable cause with each purchase a customer makes, for example.
Customer Appreciation Gifts
The concept of customer appreciation gifts is mentioned above. They are one of the best ways to show employees that you care.
Some of the ways you can use gifts for customer appreciation include:
- Occasion gifts can be something traditional, like Christmas and holiday gifts. You can also give gifts for different types of occasions. For example, you might do customer anniversary gifts, or you could send gifts when customers meet a certain spending total. These can be surprises, which adds another beneficial element to the experience for the customer.
- If you’re a business or service provider where there are big ticket items involved, you can show your customers they matter with a gift at the end of transactions. Realtors helping clients close on a house is an example of this.
- If something goes wrong, you might right it with a gift. A gift can show that you’re truly sorry and you want to make it right. Small gifts can go a long way from turning a disgruntled customer into one who’s happy and will return to do business with you.
- Random and surprise gifts for no reason can always be fun too.
So what about the types of gifts that are appropriate for customer appreciation?
The more you know your customers, the more you can align gifts to their preferences and unique characteristics.
There are trending products, like portable speakers or headphones, that tend to be universally liked. You might give a productivity gift, like a planner, or you can send flowers which is a traditional approach to showing appreciation.
Utilitarian gifts are always great too. For example, maybe a phone stand, tote bag, or a charging cable set in a case are gifts that people can put to good use, and they’re budget-friendly from your perspective.
Snack boxes, stainless steel water bottles, and wine tumblers can be good gifts, and if you want to splurge a bit more, maybe something like wireless earbuds or a luxurious blanket will make a good gift.
Customer appreciation is one of the defining features that can set you apart from other businesses in the long term, so it’s worth investing effort into getting it right.