Increase Retention With These Customer Appreciation Ideas
Do you love your customers? We’re sure that your answer is yes. So how do you show that you care about them? If you’re thinking “through customer service”, we’re sorry to say that’s just not enough these days. What you need are some customer appreciation ideas!
Businesses have tunnel vision when it comes to focusing on growth and acquiring new customers. And while these things are important, the importance of nurturing your existing customers cannot be overstated. Acquiring a new customer is actually 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining your current customers.
In addition to this, increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% alone can help you increase your profits by almost 95%. When your customers feel genuinely valued it will help strengthen the relationship that they have with you as a business. It will help increase customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and lifetime value as a whole.
What is customer appreciation?
Customer appreciation is the act of recognizing the value of a customer. Businesses can show customers their appreciation through being dedicated to improving their level of satisfaction and the quality of their experiences. As part of the customer appreciation ideas a business implements, there should always be a focus on nurturing meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
Why is customer appreciation so important?
Customer appreciation is something that goes way beyond the success of an organization’s customer service team. Its impact can clearly be seen on the bottom line of a business. In fact, 68% of customers have said that they will stop buying from a company because they feel that the business does not care for them. So let’s take a look at why implementing customer appreciation ideas is so important to your business.
It increases customer loyalty and satisfaction
Customer appreciation, satisfaction, and loyalty are different from each other, but they are all also very closely connected. When customers are appreciated they immediately feel more satisfied with their experiences. And this in turn leads them to reward businesses with more loyalty than before. So if you want brand loyalty to increase, you need to first appreciate your customers and the business that they bring you.
It boosts customer lifetime value
It is not just that customers will return to a brand more when they feel appreciated. Though that alone is worth every bit of investment. But when you appreciate your customers, you also increase the likelihood of them spending more with you. This can occur in single transactions, and over time. Your customers will also be more likely to refer and recommend your services as a result.
You can differentiate yourself from your competition
Almost every business right now competes with each other to offer a better customer experience. When you implement better customer appreciation ideas than your competitions, you give the customer something special. You give them a reason to remember you and to choose you over your competitors. This connection that customers then feel to you and the recognition they give you is way more than something limited by products and services.
Customer appreciation boosts brand reputation
According to a study done by Zendesk, 88% of all customers are heavily influenced by the reviews that a business has. In fact, having verification from other customers displayed on your website and social media is very important. It can influence customer behavior patterns more than just discounts do. When your customers feel that they are being appreciated, they will also have more of a tendency to become your brand advocates.
This means writing positive reviews, telling friends and family, and talking positively about your brand on social media. When your customers leave positive feedback, take the time to fill surveys, or promote your brand on social media you win. You know then, that they feel truly appreciated because they’re rewarding you with their time and insights.
More support in times of a crisis
We are currently dealing with a pandemic and it’s taken a tough toll on all of us. There is perhaps no better time than this to see how customer appreciation can really be a positive force. A crisis could also be something like a disruption to service or a PR misfire. When your customers know that they can count on you to support them they are much more likely to support you and be more understanding when you hit snags along the way.
What turns customer appreciation ideas into success?
Now that you know how important customer appreciation is to you, here’s what you should keep in mind when implementing them. They will make sure that your efforts at customer appreciation are well received and that they pay off well too.
Make it memorable and meaningful
Not all the customer appreciation ideas that businesses try out are created equal. Your customers always get to set the standard. If what you think is thoughtful, does not translate to them in the same way, it will not have an impact. And you’re better off ditching the ideas that don’t make an impact.
For example, if you tell customers that you are going to be giving a charitable donation in their name would they find that thoughtful and memorable? Or would they perhaps find it more meaningful if you give them a gift card for that same amount? Remember the only right answer here is the one that your customers would choose.
Make the gesture a sincere one
Shoppers are savvy. If a gesture that you are making is insincere, make no mistake – they will see right through it. Most entrepreneurs are really grateful for every single customer they have. But that doesn’t mean that you should be insincere in an attempt to keep your customers.
Connecting with them honestly is something that you cannot miss out on. To this end, don’t use any language that sounds too enthusiastic, or suggests that you are trying to oversell something. And try to avoid saying anything that sounds out of character for your brand. Stay true to your brand voice and values and the gestures you make will always come across as more sincere.
Delight customers with the unexpected
We all love surprises. This doesn’t mean that all your customer appreciation ideas need to take your customers by surprise. But there should be a bit of variety amongst them. When a business maintains the same strategy for discounts and offers their efforts could be undermined because they seem predictable and nothing out of the ordinary. There is nothing special about the ideas. Instead, we suggest that you consider the idea of surprise reciprocity. This means that every now and then, you will use something unexpected to delight your customers.
Set budgets and stick to them
Having customers who are loyal to your brand is absolutely invaluable. At the same time, your customer appreciation ideas have to be sustainable for your business and the resources you have available. To ensure this, you can measure the cost of the repeated and one-off gestures that you invest in, against the lifetime value of the average customer. Then determine what amount or percentage of that number that you are truly comfortable with spending on driving customer loyalty.
Send your customers a handwritten thank you note
Handwritten notes are a long lost art. Most of the time, people only receive any form of handwritten note at a birthday, wedding, or another major life event. And companies tend to use email as a primary method of communication which eliminates that touchpoint. So let’s break the cycle every now and again and resort to a good old pen and thank you card. This will give your customers much joy and a sense of hearing from someone near and dear. Be clear about why you are thanking them. And be candid about what the customer means to you.
Support initiatives that are meaningful to customers
The holidays are a great time to show your customers that you appreciate them. Try sending them a note before the rush is upon us. And to make it extra special consider donating to a cause that’s valued by your customers, and letting them know that a donation has been made in their honor.
Giving your customers a personal gift is great, but depending on the type of brand you have, and the values and ideas that resonate most with your customers, something like this could be more impactful. You can also integrate this into the way that you do business. For example, Mascoma Bank, a New Hampshire based bank donates 10% of their income to organizations based within the local communities that they serve.
Add value to your community daily
Toast is a restaurant management software company that also deals with Point Of Sales systems. They discovered that owners of restaurants had no specific curriculum on how to manage their businesses. To fill that void in the market, they launched a publication titled “On the Line”. This publication helps guide their customers and makes the most difficult parts of their jobs easier. And they do not shy away from topics like layoffs, sexism and mental health. Instead, they use well researched and powerful articles that also provide actionable guidance.
When you get really good at providing a particular product or service, it is easy to forget that you can share our wisdom too. Educating your customers is one of the most rewarding ways in which you can say thank you. The more creative you are about this, the better it is. If for example you have a wine bar, offer advice on pairings and tastings.
However you approach this, do not ever undervalue the expertise that you have to offer. Your customers will thank you for it and consider you a trusted partner in the way they run their operations.
Take note when customers go the extra mile
You may have that one customer who makes your day better just because they are thoughtful and kind. Or a customer could be very detailed about an issue that they are facing, making your job that much easier. Whenever, and however, a customer goes the extra mile, be sure to appreciate them. A gesture like this will make them feel valued and respected. And you do not have to jump through hoops for this. Very frankly and honestly, tell them why you appreciate them so much and let them know that they have made your day so much better. As the saying goes, it does not cost you anything to be kind. So be kind.
Offer a heavily discounted service in trying times
With the pandemic affecting a lot of people, if your business has the means, something to consider is offering heavily discounted products or services. Any way in which you can help people make their challenges a little easier can go a long way. One example of this is Loom. The company offered their shareable video software, to help businesses and schools or any organization stay connected remotely.
The best part? They did not try to make money out of it. They simply gave back. They went so far as to remove the video recording limits on their free plan. Then more than doubled the length of the paid plans and cut the price right down in half. They also offered their paid plan free of charge to students and teachers. When people are going through a rough time, offering something of value for free, or heavily discounted, is a beautiful way to say thank you.
Conversations are valuable
People want to be seen, people want to be heard. Engaging with your customers on video chat or in person if possible, is a great way to deliver a thank you message. Without having any pre-planned agenda, ask customers about their experiences with your business and more. When you understand the landscape of their lives, you will also have the ability to cater to them better in the future.
If your business does not have a specific geographical community, you can also use work travel to your benefit. If you are attending a work conference in a region where you have customers, see who is nearby and try to connect with them in person for a coffee to get feedback and say thank you.
Thoughtful gifts work too
Lots of businesses give customers swag gifts. But there is a difference between this and a thoughtful gift. A thoughtful gift can be something from your business, or something that is completely different. Let’s assume you have a coffee shop and one of your best customers came in before they moved out of town. Give them a coffee and pastry on the house.
You could also give them a to-go coffee mug. The most important thing that you must keep in mind here is that when you give a thoughtful gift, it needs to align with the values of the customer. For example, if a customer is vegan, do not give them a bottle of the best local honey. Also, remember that money does not always equal value. The amount of thought that you put into a gift often is far more than the monetary value.
Supporting your customers’ work, interests and business
If your customers have their own personal projects and ventures, support them in any way that you can. You can buy from them, promote them, and even sponsor something for them. The best kind of relationships are always mutually beneficial. Some of the ways in which you can support your customers are:
- Partnering with their businesses on co-marketing campaigns
- Highlighting their work on your social media or on your blog
- Asking a customer to share their expertise on an IG Live
- Supporting an initiative that your customer champions
- Referring people to your customers’ businesses
- Hosting an event together
- Hiring a customer for a position in your business
Your customer appreciation ideas say a lot about you
If you look at all the tips we’ve given you, one thing stands out. For you to appreciate your customers in meaningful ways, you need to know them very well. You may not always be able to understand them on a very personal level. But if you invest some time and energy into building a good relationship with them, you’ll get to know some of the values and day-to-day experiences they care about most. With that info on hand, you can come up with some great customer appreciation ideas. And the more that you give them in terms of genuine appreciation, the more your customers will also show up for you.