Customers are the lifeblood of your business. You can only stay in business as long as they come in and generate revenue for your company. Yet, far too many businesses don’t implement campaigns or plans that give thanks to their customers.
Let’s look at why it can be a big mistake to overlook customer appreciation, and also find a few ways your business can say “thank you” to the people who keep your doors open.
Why Does Customer Appreciation Matter?
On the surface, customer appreciation seems more like a company value than an essential business strategy. Some businesses may choose to prioritize their customers more than others.
But, customer appreciation should be a priority for every business for a few reasons.
Customer appreciation helps improve customer retention. Happy customers turn into repeat customers. Shoppers and clients are more likely to come back again and again when they feel they get great value and customer service from a brand.
Customer retention increases customer lifetime value. When existing customers come back, the value they bring to your business goes up. When each existing customer is more valuable, you don’t need to acquire as many customers to make the same amount of revenue. Even better, as you acquire more customers, each brings more and more revenue to your business.
High customer lifetime value allows you to make more while spending less. When you market to existing customers, you make more revenue and it’s actually easier to generate more sales. It’s cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to a new customer, and existing customers are likely to spend more during a purchase than a new customer.
Happy customers tell their friends. When customers feel a strong connection to a brand, they are more likely to share their great experiences with their family and friends. Even better, the people they tell often act on those recommendations. People are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
Ways to Show Customer Appreciation
Now that you can see why it’s essential to focus on customer appreciation and bringing existing customers back to your business, let’s look at some ways you can show your gratitude to shoppers and clients.
Start tracking your customers and their habits. You can’t show customer appreciation if you can’t identify your best and most loyal customers. So the first step in building customer appreciation initiatives is setting up a customer relationship management tool that allows you to collect customer contact information and monitor their shopping habits. This information helps you identify your top shoppers and clients as well as communicate with them.
Offer a customer loyalty program. Customer loyalty programs, wherein customers sign up to track their purchases and win awards based on their habits, are the most commonly used type of appreciation and retention programs. This is a great place to start your appreciation strategy as it allows you to collect customer information and data. If you set up a program like this, make sure collecting customer data is your only goal. Give away great value to customers in exchange for using the program. Show customers that you care about offering rewards, not just collecting their information.
Periodically reward top customers. Once you have a system for tracking customer habits, set times throughout the year (annually, quarterly, monthly, etc.) for when you can identify and reward top customers. Find the customers who have spent the most or visited most frequently and show them your gratitude. A few ideas for rewards may include:
- Free upgrades on their next service, stay, or purchase
- VIP upgrades or experiences
- Coupons and discounts
- Free brand SWAG
- Exclusive or early access to sales or store hours
Follow up. One of the best ways to show customers that you are grateful for their business is asking them if they got everything they needed from their product or service. Following up with customers once they’ve done business with you shows them that you care (as well gives you an opportunity to collect helpful feedback to improve your business, products, and services).
Send a handwritten note. Digital communication is great. But it is so widely used that it can start to feel impersonal or less authentic which is why a real-life thank you, such as a handwritten note, can go a far way with customers. Consider thanking your most loyal customers or shoppers who have made a large purchase with a personalized, handwritten card that shows how grateful you are for them supporting your business.
Host an appreciation day event. Another way to use real-life experiences to show customer appreciation is through in-person events. Invite customers to a special, live in-store event at your business or other location to reward them for being a loyal brand fan. Offer raffles as well as freebies to make the event exciting and fun.
Spotlight customers on social media. Digital platforms are still a great place to show customer appreciation, especially through social media. Highlight your top customers by sharing their names on your social accounts, thank customers by sharing their social brand mentions, or otherwise giving your loyal customers a shout out via your social media channels and accounts.
Feature customers in your store. Your business can also give out a digital thank you from inside of your store. Using digital signage, highlight and thank your loyal customers on featured media inside of your location. Seeing their photo or name in your store will make customers feel special and form a deeper connection with your brand.
Create Exceptional Experiences by Showing Customer Appreciation
Customers are the most important piece of your business. Without them, it’s likely that your brand would struggle to survive or even fail to exist. So show customers that you see them for the valuable asset they are. Use these customer appreciation tips to create programs and initiatives that reward, recognize, and retain your top shoppers, buyers, and clients.
For more tips on how to provide “wow” experiences that show customers your brand values and cares about them, check out our free ebook.