Your customers are the cornerstone of your business, so why not show them how much you appreciate them? If you’re looking for ways to express your gratitude to your faithful clientele, check out these 25 customer appreciation tips and ideas from the pros.
1. Create Custom Logo Signs for Your Clients
Ally Compeau, Founder & CEO, Woof Signs
When working with small and even medium-sized businesses, they are often strapped for cash or even bootstrapping and have little extra money to spend on even table stakes for their business. For a small business owner, there is nothing they are more passionate about than their brand. Why not combine both of the sentiments above and gift them something truly memorable. Create a custom sign to recognize your customers. Not only will it be something useful (and something they may not have the extra funds for) but it’ll also be something that will tug at their heartstrings. There is really nothing better than seeing your brand come to life — it’s a very proud moment.
2. Reward Your Customers With a Loyalty Program
Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business
Want to build rapport with customers while encouraging them to give you repeat business? CandyBar has created a mobile-friendly platform for small business loyalty programs. Simply ask for your customers’ phone numbers, have them respond to the confirmation text, and they are enrolled! Choose your rewards, give “stamps,” and track the frequency of enrolled visitors on your smartphone, computer, or tablet.
With CandyBar, you can keep customers coming back for more without requiring them to keep track of a physical card. Try it free for 30 days – no credit card required.
3. Give Perks to Customers Who Gave Recent Five-Star Reviews
Chas Cooper, CEO & Founder, Rising Star Reviews
Give award perks like products, gifts and memberships to customers who recently gave your business a five-star rating on Google, Yelp, Facebook or another online review site. Comment on the review site to let them know how much you appreciated their business and mention contacting you about the award perk. This sends a message to all other customers viewing your customer review profile that you value your customers highly, and that they, too, just might earn a perk if they write a five-star review too. Be careful not to promise any perks for future reviews as this is strictly prohibited by law. But, offering a perk after someone leaves an excellent review is a completely fair and legal way to give your best customers a wonderful surprise and make their day.
4. Offer to Sponsor Your Customer for an Event
Matt Edbrooke, Director, The Mac Store
Brands too often fill their social media feeds with products or sales. Get your customers talking and see if they have anything coming up you can support. A customer may tell you “I’m training for a marathon,” “supporting a charity” or “my band has its first gig tonight.” If so, you have to jump in with “Wow, that’s awesome! Could we sponsor you and give you a shout out?” or “When and where’s the gig? If we have a rock star in the store right now, we have to let our followers know what’s going down!” You get content, get to support something important and build a bond with your customer for life!
5. Give Out Branded Products
Krista Fabregas, Fit Small Business
Gifting products that are actually practical is a better way to build your brand than with items that are silly or entertaining. When your customers use their gift regularly, they will be reminded of the relationship they have with your company. Inkhead offers hundreds of brandable products that make great customer gifts, including journals, flash drives, earbuds, multifunction tools, coffee mugs, and much more. Browse Inkhead’s products.
6. Send Books Related to Their Interests
Katie Ervin, Marketing Manager, Whitebox
We work with so many wonderful CEOs and entrepreneurs that often our team finds books that we like and that really spoke to us, so we will send a copy to a client that it made us think of. For example, “In the Company of Women” was a very popular book on the desks of our female staffers, so they went out of their way to send a couple copies out exceptional women that we work with who we thought would appreciate it as well.
7. Send Thank You Notes in the Form of Gift Cards
John Baker, Chief Technology Officer, DeployBot
Amplify the power of a handwritten “thank you” note by including a personal touch: a gift card to your client’s favorite restaurant, custom stationery or another high-quality gift that simply expresses your appreciation for the client.
Tip: Don’t use this as an opportunity to sneak in a coupon code or to promote your business. This is simply a thank you for the business relationship, which is worth more than a quick promo.
8. Give a Charity Gift In Honor of Your Customer
Tyler Butler, Founder & Principal, 11Eleven
Reach out to your most loyal customers and inquire about their charity of choice. Making a donation in their name is one of the most meaningful ways to show gratitude for their support. Another format of this philanthropic giving as a customer reward could be to leverage a round up for charity program via your checkout process. Except as a reward to those customers who opt-in and do decide to round up and donate to charity, show your appreciation by matching that donation. It is tax deductible, leaves a sustainable and positive experience in the customer’s memory and provides as a way to make a positive impact.
Also, tracking these results can add a great storytelling piece to your annual report or for your social media.
9. Celebrate Customer Appreciation Day
Carie Kelsey, Founder & Vice President, Real Deals
Several stores, including Twin Falls, host a barbecue each year for customers with hamburgers, hot dogs and Italian sodas. Customers get to mingle with store owners and each other. This activity is very significant in the sense that it builds a sense of community and family.
10. Start a Referral Program
Jeremy Levine, Fit Small Business
If you’re already rewarding customers with a loyalty program like CandyBar, why not reward them for referring their friends too? ReferralCandy is an eCommerce store plugin made by the same people behind CandyBar. It helps you get more word of mouth sales by giving customers unique referral links they can share with friends, and reward them with cash, store credit, discounts, or free products. You can also promote your program with beautiful widgets and email templates that you set up yourself without a designer or developer. Click here for a free 30-day trial.
11. Remember Their Birthday
Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer, BeenVerified
Track your customers’ birthdays. Create a customer appreciation birthday recognition program. Ask your customers for his or her birth month and date. Record it in your customer logbook. A week prior to the birthday, send out a handwritten birthday card, wishing him or her a happy birthday, and include an invitation to come into the store and pick up a special birthday gift. This will encourage customers to return to your store and show them you value them as your customer. The gift can be simple and include your company’s logo.
For example, it could be a notepad and a pen, both including your company’s logo. You can have a box of prewrapped birthday gifts and a vase of roses at the checkout desk for when customers arrive to receive their gift. Ensure that all of your employees are aware of the components of the birthday recognition program and how to provide excellent customer service.
12. Give a Yearly Gift That Indirectly Relates to Your Business
Ed McMasters, Director of Marketing, Communications & Design, FUSIONWRX
Each year, we celebrate our customers with the gift of wrapping paper and a thank you for helping us wrap up another great year. For the past 10 years, we have worked with a company called Richwrap. What we like about the gift is that because we are a printer and marketing company, so we believe that the giving wrapping paper is truly a link to our business. It is also a very unique and highly appreciated gift. We receive numerous thank you notes each year.
13. Offer a Free Consultation
David Kosmayer, CEO, Bookmark.com
We made it a habit to always strive to provide more than being paid for. One of our favorite methods is to provide our customers with free and random one-on-one design consultation sessions. This not only results in nicer looking websites but we also found that the serendipity factor often led to higher customer retention rates and an overall happier customer.
14. Be Creative In Your Gift Ideas with 3D Prints
Biying Maio, Owner & Co-founder, Hot Pop Factory
We help clients make ideas real with laser cutting, laser engraving and 3D printing technology. Brands love us because we help them stand out and be personal in fun and creative ways. We designed a playful kaleidoscope as a thank you to clients and partners. It combines 3D printing and laser cutting with a clever flat pack design. It’s unexpected, easy to mail and a delight to the eyes. Easily customizable, it’s also a great way to make mail interesting again.
15. Always Answer When Your Customers Call
Maggie Aland, Fit Small Business
Show customers you appreciate their business by making sure their calls never go to voicemail. Ruby Receptionists is an answering service that offers virtual receptionists who can take messages, forward calls, and relay basic information to customers. You get 100% live professionals, weekday and weekend coverage, and a local-area hosted phone number. Click here to try it with a 21-day money-back guarantee.
16. Ask for Their Feedback and Then Act On It
Jonathan Fox, CEO, Eco Vessel
How many times do we complete a survey, then never see or hear of it again? Encourage your customers to leave feedback by providing a small gift, such as a discount code on their next purchase or free samples. Then, look at the feedback and implement recurring issues that you come across. You can always drop each customer a line to let him or her know that we have implemented the changes that they recommended. How much more could you actually show them how much you value their custom?
17. Adopt a Text Messaging Program as Alternative to Email
Joel Lee, SEO Marketing Specialist, Trumpia
No matter how a small business chooses to show gratitude — sending a thank you note, a coupon or whatever else — it simply will not have the desired impact if the token of appreciation isn’t seen by the customer. Emails never get read (22 percent read rate) and letters require the customer to actually read it. So, in 2018, businesses would be smart to adopt a text messaging program — 98 percent of all texts get read. On top of that, 90 percent get read within three minutes of delivery, catering to the modern-day need of instant gratification.
So, whether you are a restaurant owner or retail store manager, you can send a text message to your most loyal customers about special deals and promotions and know that it’s seen. Setting up a text messaging software is easy and can deliver promising customer relationship results in 2018.
You can’t go wrong with complimentary movie tickets. These are popular consumer rewards that will be appreciated by anyone, so send out a couple of these to your best customer for the month to show you value his or her business. Find out how you can set up your own with Fandango right down to customizing movie certificates.
19. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Almost everyone is on social media at some time every day, so knowing how to use this platform effectively to show customer appreciation can make you look great in the eyes of your audience. Go beyond the usual shout out and find the number of ways to use social media to show appreciation to your customers.
Freebies and special sales should be supported with a well-designed coupon. Like other printed business material, how your coupon looks affect how much value your customer puts into your giveaway, so make sure it reflects well with your brand. Check out these coupon templates from Canva and edit them for free to create the best impression with your customers.
The food and beverage business is highly competitive and will need to have a strong customer appreciation strategy to retain patrons. Repeat purchases are important but would not be possible if customers don’t feel appreciated. While there are similarities, loyalty programs for retail stores differ from restaurants. Here are some examples to get you started.
Having a VIP club is a great way to show appreciation to your customers, but it takes some strategy to create one that people actually want to be a part of. Think exclusivity and perks that will make your customers aim for membership. Find out the steps and tips in creating your own customer VIP club in this article.
23. Host an Event for Your Customers
Elmer Tamayo, Web Developer & Owner, EV Web Directory
A simple gathering or event invitation for your customers is one of the best ways to show your appreciation. By hosting a yearly event for your customers, you help them to realize how important they are to your business. Perhaps you might want to give them certificates or plaques as well to help your customer feel they are valuable to your business.
Gift baskets are a great way to show appreciation for your customers, but they don’t always have to be expensive. Simple tokens and everyday items that you know your customer would love will be seen as a thoughtful gesture that will endear you more to your patrons. This article gives you a rundown of inexpensive gift ideas for every occasion.
Who doesn’t want to contribute to the environment? Regardless of the nature of your business, your customers would appreciate it if you sponsor the planting of a tree in their name. You can even create a certificate to symbolize the tree and gift it to your customers. Check out this link to an organization that allows you to plant trees online as one farmer takes care of the tree on your behalf. You can find out the features and where it’s growing. It even has an online diary you can share with your customers.
Over to You
What is your go-to method of letting your customers know you value their business? Comment below with your customer appreciation ideas and feedback!