“The customer is always right” is an old customer service adage we’ve all heard countless times. It can come across as a bit of a cliché, but it means a lot more than just observing basic customer service principles. It reminds us that customers are the lifeblood of every business; that is, without customers, you have no business.
We already know that retaining customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, hence customer churn is costly to a business. Furthermore, statistics show that, typically, 80% of a business’s profits come from just 20% of its customers.
This means that maintaining customer loyalty should be a top priority for every business as it’s the loyal customers who will show up and buy from you time and time again.
But how can businesses ensure they maintain loyal customers? Showing your customers you appreciate them is a key way to improve the overall customer experience and drive loyalty in the long term.
This is why customer appreciation should be a key focus area for every business. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and if you can demonstrate your appreciation for your customers in a sincere, strategic way, you’ll increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, resulting in better overall outcomes for your business.
What Does Customer Appreciation Mean to You?
Customer appreciation can mean several different things. For many businesses, appreciating their customers means building engagement with customers in the form of relationships that go past the transaction to build an emotive tie between the customer and your brand.
In showing thoughtfulness to your customer, you build a relationship where the customer has a positive association with your brand and so becomes a loyal customer.
Customer appreciation is also about creating an excellent customer experience, wherein each customer is treated uniquely and given tailored positive customer service.
It can also mean delighting and surprising your customers with gifts or special treats when they’re least expecting it – showing them you’re always thinking of them and their happiness.
If your business provides an overall positive, customer-focused experience, your customers will feel appreciated, and you’ll build long-lasting relationships that continue to deliver for both parties (the customer and the business) over time.
Why is Customer Appreciation Important?
Simply stated, customer appreciation is important because it leads to greater customer loyalty. If customers feel appreciated by your business, they’ll be more likely to do business with you repeatedly in the future.
Moreover, it builds important relationships. All businesses want returning customers, and those who feel appreciated by the businesses they shop with will choose to make future purchases.
Customer appreciation is demonstrative of a company’s willingness to make efforts on behalf of its customers. It shows a willingness to engage with customers and treat every customer exchange as a valuable interaction.
Why Do I Need a Customer Appreciation Strategy?
A customer appreciation strategy is part of a company’s broader marketing strategy, wherein it rewards its loyal customers and drives loyalty amongst new customers by taking the time to personalise experiences and show genuine gratitude for their business.
How people feel about your business will influence their willingness to do business with your company in the future. It makes sense, then, that incorporating a customer appreciation strategy into your broader marketing strategy will increase positive outcomes for your business, improving your brand value and helping your company to scale.
7 Ways to Show Customer Appreciation
Regardless of your business size or budget, it’s never too soon to start employing customer appreciation tactics. Here are seven ways that you can easily and comprehensively show your customers that you appreciate them and start building positive relationships with your customers straight away.
1. Pay Attention to Detail
Customer service is one area where the small details really do matter. To improve the customer experience, your business can take a detail-oriented approach to solving customer problems. This can show your customers that you truly do appreciate their business and want to deliver the best possible experience every time.
For example, a customer shopping for a wedding gift could be helped by simply being directed to your catalogue. That’s the most basic level of customer service. But if a customer service team member goes the extra mile to understand what the customer is actually looking for and provides tailored product suggestions and offers to make a special order to secure the perfect gift, this will leave much more of a lasting impression. It will show your customer that your business isn’t merely selling products, but that you truly care about your customer getting what they need.
Noticing what your customers need and helping to find solutions to even the smallest of issues shows your customers that you are dedicated to helping them.
2. Check in With Your Customers
All too often, businesses will complete a transaction and leave it there. If you care about relationship building, you’ll know that there’s a lot to be gained from following up with your customers to ensure that their needs are still being met, even after the transaction is complete.
A great way of doing this is to check in shortly after a purchase to ensure that your customer is finding overall satisfaction with the product or service they’ve purchased from you. Perhaps they need help with onboarding or have questions about their purchase. This ‘check-in’ is your chance to offer exceptional, additional service to your customers.
When you offer help proactively, it shows appreciation and follow-through. It also saves your customer valuable time in having to contact you if things aren’t working and can provide valuable feedback.
3. Offer Personalised Services
Personalisation is a key way to win customer loyalty. We’ve touched on it briefly above, but it’s worthwhile to go into a bit more depth when it comes to offering personalised services proactively. When you can show a customer that you notice them, it can make a huge difference to their overall experience.
Personalisation needn’t mean resorting to complex, grand gestures; it can be as simple as using the customer’s preferred contact method to engage with them. Knowing a customer’s preferences and delivering the right type of marketing campaigns against those preferences is another simple way that you can ensure the experience your customers have with your brand is personalised and feels highly relevant to them. Delivering personalised experiences that use customer data in appropriate ways helps make customers feel appreciated and builds loyalty.
4. Know Your Customers
Customers want to be understood and listened to. When a customer calls your company either to purchase a product or for help with an issue, it’s important that your customer service team has the proper context necessary to help each customer.
This means unifying every customer touchpoint. That’s email, social media messaging and phone, to provide a comprehensive historical record for every customer. When your team is interacting with a customer, they will then have the customer’s entire history with your brand in front of them for context.
Knowing what your customers have purchased in the past, situations where they’ve needed help previously, and interactions they’ve had with your team will help provide a more tailored experience and will save the customer from having to repeat themselves and explain prior issues.
When your team has relevant customer insights at their fingertips that they can act upon, it’ll help make each of your customers feel valued and listened to.
5. Champion a Customer Appreciation Week
A straightforward way of showing your customers that you appreciate them is simply by telling them! Picking a calendar week to host a customer appreciation week can be a great way of letting your customers know that your company cares about them and their business.
Working with your marketing team, a special customer appreciation week can be rolled out through multichannel campaigns, such as email marketing, social media and even TV and print advertising campaigns.
You can use the week to offer special prizes, discounts, or freebies that show your customers how much you appreciate their business the other 51 weeks of the year.
6. Support Causes Your Customers Care About
Increasingly, customers expect brands to take a stand on social and environmental issues in an authentic way. Brands that support positive social change are perceived well by customers. In fact, surveys indicate that 68% of customers expect brands to be clear about their values and take a stand.
So, whether it’s supporting a charitable cause or using a hashtag to show support for a positive awareness initiative, being aligned with the organisations driving positive change in our society can help your customers not only perceive your brand in a favourable light but can help them feel appreciated by a brand looking out for their best interests.
7. Go the Extra Mile
Doing the bare minimum versus going above and beyond in customer service can make a big difference to your brand reputation and how your customers feel about your business.
Being aware of your customers’ unique situations and delivering against them can be useful here. For example, if your customer needs a product but will be away from their home, offering to have the product shipped to their travel destination can be a way of going above and beyond to deliver that extra special service. It won’t go unnoticed.
In a situation where something’s not right, following up with a customer until they are satisfied or offering a future discount, or even sending flowers can be a powerful way to demonstrate appreciation.
In either case, you always want to show your customers that your relationship with them is about more than just the transaction and that you’re always thinking about them and how to make their experience better. That’s true appreciation.
Customer Appreciation and Gifts
In addition to implementing the above best practices to show appreciation, customer gifting is another action you can implement year-round to show your customers that you value their business. It helps foster positive relationships by delighting customers when they least expect it.
Here are a few ways that you can use appropriate, occasion-based gifts to show your customers you appreciate them:
- Occasion Gifts. These can be quite traditional such as sending a customer a gift at Christmas, for example. But you should also think outside the box for ways of gifting that align with other occasions, such as customer anniversaries (a customer has been with your business for a certain period) or when a customer hits a specific spending threshold. They might not expect gifts at these times, so it will be a welcome surprise demonstrating just how much their business matters to your company.
- Closing Gifts. Providing a gift following the conclusion of a big-ticket purchase (like a house, for example) can make a customer feel valued. It shows that your customer matters more than just for the transaction and you’re taking the time to celebrate them.
- Make-it-Right Gifts. There will inevitably be times when things go wrong. When this happens, every business wants to make sure that they take every step possible to rectify the situation. Once the situation is resolved, sending a gift to apologise for the inconvenience can go a long way towards turning a frustrated customer into a satisfied, delighted customer.
- Surprise and Delight Gifts. Everyone loves a surprise so why not give your customer something to smile about? Surprise gifts can coincide with specific customer anniversaries but can also be given at random, providing your customers with an unexpected gift to lift their spirits and make them feel valued knowing that your business is thinking about them.
What about the types of gifts you should give to your customers? What’s appropriate and what types of things are bound to truly delight and excite your customers, making them feel most valued? Here’s a list of gift ideas that are appropriate and typically go down well with customers:
- Flowers are a classic gift that show appreciation and sophistication.
- Trending products, such as headphones, a smart watch, or portable speaker, are universally popular gifts that customers love receiving.
- Early access to pilot programs, where your customer can feel special to be one of the first chosen to trial a new offering not yet widely available to the public.
- A gift card for a coffee chain or popular online shop, like Amazon.
- Productivity gifts, such as a planner or free access to a time tracking app.
- Discounts for your upcoming products or services.
These are just a few suggestions. You can get creative. If you know your customers and their preferences, you can always deliver gifts to match them. Customers love gifts and offering them is a great way to show appreciation.
All businesses and brands want to be seen as caring about their customers. Anyone in the business of customer service naturally wants to demonstrate appreciation for the customers that drive their business both today and in the future.
With studies showing that 68% of customers leave because they believe the business does not care about them, it’s more important than ever to show your customers that you appreciate them and value their business.
In this day and age, all businesses should absolutely make customer appreciation an intrinsic part of their broader marketing and customer service strategy. As you can see, customer appreciation can be implemented strategically yet simply, without having to overhaul your entire customer service programme. Best of all, it can have an immediate and lasting impact on your business success.