12 Bulletproof Customer Appreciation Ideas with Examples and Framework
What do Children’s Day, Teacher’s Day and Mother’s Day have in common? They are all occasions of gratitude and appreciation. When people are celebrated, they feel valued. This, in turn, nurtures stronger connections. Expressions of appreciation don’t have to be limited to personal relationships. Even in the business world, appreciating employees and customers can go a long way.
Businesses looking to establish long-term bonds with customers have to put similar effort into customer appreciation. Since customers are the lifeline of any business, when you show customers that they are valued, it fosters loyalty and therefore, more business.
A study from the Rockefeller Corporation found that 82% of customers will walk away from a business if they feel uncared for. When compared with the 14% who leave because of dissatisfied service, it shows quite clearly what drives customer retention.
Genuinely valuing customers is a strong business differentiator and can work wonders. This is why it is important for every business to have a customer appreciation strategy.
What Is Customer Appreciation?
Customer appreciation is a way of making customers feel valued, heard, and loved. Everyone knows the old adage customer is royalty. Treating customers like royalty is the first step to customer appreciation.
When you show customers how important they are to your business on a regular basis, they will keep coming back to you. Think of it as an act of gratitude to customers who continue to choose your business instead of all other alternatives available in the market. While it may seem geared more towards existing customers, the right appreciation tactics can actually have a networking effect in trying to attract new customers as well.
Having a robust customer appreciation strategy in place can become the foundation for long-lasting customer relationships.
Benefits of Customer Appreciation
Putting customer satisfaction above all has many benefits. Having the best customer appreciation strategy is the key ingredient to make your customers fall in love with your company.
1. Reduce Churn and Increase Customer Lifetime Value – The way a business makes its customers feel has a strong influence on whether or not they will return. A business that appreciates its customers is more likely to gain loyal customers. Not just that, loyal customers make 90% more frequent purchases and spend 60% more than others, thereby increasing their lifetime value.
Customers who feel appreciated and valued are more likely to return to the business in the future. In fact, some researchers say they are 5 times more likely to return to a brand that makes them feel appreciated.
2. Generate Quality Leads with Positive Word of Mouth – Word of mouth is sticky and it will stay in your mind as compared to an ad, which you’ve seen dozens of times. In fact, Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising. Acquiring new customers through aggressive tactics can be a costly affair but Word-of-mouth referrals are free, trustworthy and can help generate quality organic leads and improve your business. Why not use it when you have it!
3. Build Brand Reputation and Turn Customers into Fans – Making your customers feel special is a powerful way to tell them, that you genuinely care for them. And businesses who do so, not just build their brand reputation but creates die-hard fans for your businesses. And once you build this trust, customers will reward you with repeated purchases. Edelman reports that 81% of the customers will buy from a brand they trust.
4. Customers Will Give You a Second Chance – When you ace the customer appreciation game, customers will be quicker to forgive any mistakes. In case of late deliveries, a mixed-up order, or a one-off poor experience, a valued customer will understand that it is not intentional.
12 Customer Appreciation Ideas
There is no wrong time to start appreciating your customers. When you express gratitude to customers frequently, you nurture a stronger relationship. Here are some customer appreciation ideas to show customers how valuable they are to you:
1. Send Thank You Notes – Remember one of the magic phrases that we’re all taught as children? Saying “Thank you!” is a great way to show customers that you care about their presence. There are many ways to say thanks, from a thoughtful handwritten note to a personalized email.
Even a shoutout on social media can work well for younger customers.
However, to really make an impact, steer clear of generic, one-word ‘thanks’ messages that seem obligatory. Get specific about what you are thankful for, address them with their name and make it as personalized as possible.
Source – GetFeedback
2. Use Appreciative Language – One of the simplest ways to show customers appreciation lies in the language you use to communicate with them. Being polite and patient with your customers is sure to make them feel heard and cared for. Apart from thank you, other words of gratitude and acknowledgment in the normal course of communication are also indicative of a caring business. Some examples are:
- We truly appreciate you choosing us and look forward to servicing you again!
- Our team is grateful for your many years as our loyal customer. We can’t wait to make the experience even better for you!
We understand that you must be feeling frustrated with the current situation and we are truly thankful for your patience.
3. Share Free Resources About Things Customers Are Passionate About – Human beings are innately curious creatures. Tapping into this characteristic can be a great and innovative way to show appreciation for customers. Sometimes, giving open access to customers to certain things they are passionate about can boost engagement in more ways than one.
For instance, a technology company that shares educational videos on coding and app-building is more likely to find a steady following than lose business. The more creative you get, the better.
Source – Tesla
4. Send Them Thoughtful Personalized Gifts – Offering free gifts with business branding is common among businesses. These can be anything from a pen to a gym bag that features your company branding. It is an inexpensive way to stand out and make customers think about your business from time to time.
While customers will definitely appreciate freebies like these, a thoughtful, appreciation gift is sure to make an even deeper impact. This could be a box of chocolates (or a free dinner at their favorite restaurant, if you’re feeling extra appreciative) for completing 10 years of doing business. The more personalized you can get, the stronger the impact will be.
5. Provide Discounts and Coupons – There is enough research that shows loyal customers spend more money than new customers. Why not reward them for their loyalty? Discounts and coupons are a great way to incentivize customers to engage more with your business. It is an easy way to show customers some love.
Not just that, it can work to boost sales too! Sometimes, a good discount or coupon could motivate customers to spend on a product they might not have otherwise. You could also celebrate important milestones with group discounts. For instance, if you hit 10k followers on social media, you could share a discount code for all your followers to use.
6. Throw in Free Services Once In A While – Everyone loves getting a free treat. What better way to thank your customers than to offer them something without charging for it?
Whenever you can, consider giving away something free of cost. This could be an additional month of subscription, a free upgrade, exclusive access to a free product, access to paid features, or even Amazon gift cards.
These could also be part of a loyalty program, like Starbucks Rewards. While giving away these perks may cost you a small amount in the present, in the long run, it will incentivize customers to keep coming back to you.
7. Upgrade to White-Glove Support – Picture an executive wearing white gloves and inspecting every aspect of a product before it goes out for delivery. White glove support for customers is an extension of that.
It is attention to detail in terms of every interaction with customers. It involves commitment and willingness to resolve any customer problem without hesitation. When you go the extra mile to help customers out, there is no way they will feel underappreciated.
Ritz-Carlton in Bali, Indonesia had a family staying with them. The son had food allergies, which meant he could eat only a certain kind of milk and eggs. While the family had carried his special food requirements on vacation, it spoilt on the journey. When the manager and staff found out, they contacted a store in Singapore that sold them, had the items purchased and delivered to Bali. Needless to say, the family was overjoyed with the outstanding service.
8. Donate to A Customer’s Social Cause – Customer appreciation does not always have to be in-the-face. Sometimes, doing good in the world is a far sweeter gesture than outright flattering customers. Research from Sprout Social has found that as much as 70% of consumers want brands to take an authentic stand on social and political issues.
While being vocal on social media can do the trick, a better way to show appreciation is to get directly involved. When a business donates to a cause that a customer or a group of customers believe in, it can foster a sense of comradeship. They will appreciate how your values align with theirs and will be keener on doing business with you.
Source – Thirdsector
9. Engage with Them in Communities and Social Media – A relationship that is purely transactional will only go so far. Mutually-beneficial relationships are likely to last the long haul. When you actively engage with your customers on forums, social media platforms, and other communities, you can show your investment in them beyond business relations.
Some ways to show customer appreciation online is to answer queries unrelated to your business, share or promote their work on your page and connect them with events they might find useful.
Source – Giphy
10. Host A Virtual Customer Appreciation Day – While you should be celebrating and appreciating your customers every day, dedicating an exclusive day just for them is bound to make them feel special. While a free meal at your office or a day of entertainment is a good way to boost connection, it may not be possible in today’s pandemic-stricken world.
Instead, get innovative with a virtual customer appreciation day. Host a stand-up comedy show centered around your customers’ likes, give them extra discounts, gift cards, and gift baskets to show them how much you care.
11. Check-in On Them During A Hard Time – Sometimes, being human and considerate is more important than prioritizing bottom lines. If you think a customer is going through a rough patch, show up for them in some way. Check-in on their well-being or offer support in some way.
For instance, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Indian EdTech company Byju’s made its learning app freely accessible to all for a while. Estimating that as many as 290 million students worldwide would be impacted by the pandemic, Byju’s decided to do its bit and the public appreciated them for it.
12. Bend the Rules (When Possible) For Loyal Customers – Going the extra mile for customers means stepping away from rigid rules at times. For instance, assume that a loyal customer misses the deadline on a return policy because of an emergency. While your formal policy may not allow it, making an exception here could be a way to say thank you for their continued support.
Ways to Build a Customer Appreciation Strategy
Customer appreciation is not a marketing tactic. Instead, it is a way of genuinely showing customers you care about them. While certain things like being polite, quick and acing the customer service game can contribute to customer appreciation on the fly, you still need a strategy to ensure everyone in the business understands the importance of customer appreciation.
Here are some tips on how to get started with building a customer appreciation framework:
- Collect customer information constantly from your CRM and customer service systems
- Be more customer-focused as a business
- Drill down the idea of customer appreciation across all levels of business
- Make feedback collection a priority
- Act on the feedback collected
- Build a community for customers
- Create a customer appreciation budget
- Start small
Never Miss a Chance to Say Thank You with Freshchat
If you are on your path to building a customer appreciation strategy and never want to miss a chance on making your customers feel special, let Freshchat help you with that. From canned responses that ensure customers are always acknowledged to our super polite and friendly bot Freddy, ace your gratitude game with us.
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