Without customers, you wouldn’t have a business. Customers are the reason you show up for work, their satisfaction and delight is your priority, and you’re honored to help them. Nothing is more important than fulfilling customer needs and going the extra mile to show up for customers.
Is that the case for your business?
Don’t worry if you’re not quite there yet.
We can get so caught up in the daily grind of running a business that we forget to show customers just how much we value them. As a result, customers can come to feel like just another number as your business races to fulfill orders or solve issues that crop up. They don’t think they matter to your business and become disloyal without an emotional connection to your brand.
Earning satisfied and loyal customers is about more than just providing amazing service for customers. You need to go one step further to appreciate your customers for frequenting your business.
Luckily, there’s a day set aside every year for companies to express their appreciation for customers. It’s called Customer Appreciation Day. Here are some customer appreciation ideas for your own customer appreciation event.
When is Customer Appreciation Day?
National Customer Appreciation Day is the third Friday in May. In 2022, Customer Appreciation Day will be held on Friday, May 20th. In 2023, Customer Appreciation Day is on Friday, May 19th.
However, you don’t need to wait for a special day to demonstrate appreciation for your customers. Every day can be about showing your customers how much you value their business.
Some companies even host a Customer Appreciation Week because they need more time to share the love they have for their customers.
What is Customer Appreciation Day?
There aren’t any official rules that you should follow when it comes to Customer Appreciation Day. It’s simply about sharing the love and taking the time to express how much your most loyal customers mean to you through targeted gestures.
Customer Appreciation Day is not about selling or promoting your brand, but rather shining the spotlight on customers and communicating how much they mean to you.
There are many ways that companies can develop a customer appreciation strategy. 64% of customers said businesses can show their appreciation for customers by offering sales or lower prices in general. But your appreciation doesn’t have to be monetary – even handwritten thank you cards can achieve the right effect if you make them genuine and personal.
The whole point of Customer Appreciation Day is doing things that don’t scale. In other words, you need to take meaningful actions that create emotional connections with your customers and show them why they matter.
Don’t feel overwhelmed and think you have to go around thanking every single customer who has ever done business with you. Just a few memorable moments of appreciating your customers for Customer Appreciation Day is enough for you to participate.
Why is Customer Appreciation Day important?
You don’t want customers to walk away with the mistaken assumption that your business doesn’t care about them. There are many reasons why customer appreciation is important, and most of all it generates customer loyalty.
91% of customers said they are more likely to do business with companies who appreciate them. This means that if your company is rewarding customers, it’s likely to have a positive impact on customer retention and ensures that will encourage customers to keep on coming back for more.
68% of customers quit a company because the staff’s attitude towards them was indifferent. So if customers feel like your company doesn’t care about them, they are likely to leave you for a competitor who does. Showing customers you care will increase customer loyalty and ensure that they don’t consider other options.
Customers that have an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71%, rather than the average rate of 45%. If you connect emotionally with customers by showing them gratitude, they will spend more with your company and refer you to others.
When customers are appreciated, it makes your brand stand out from the crowd. The relationship becomes more than merely transactional and customers are motivated to show gratitude in return. They will reward your company with repeat business and spend more with your company too.
9 Customer Appreciation Day Ideas
1. Send out free swag or a gift basket
60% of customers say unexpected rewards are the biggest reason they stay loyal to a brand. Free swag is a nice surprise to get in the mail and could help make customers feel more committed to you.
Choose a number of special customers to send out free swag to. It could be anything branded with your company such as stickers, mugs, t-shirts or pens. Swag is a great way to remind your customers about your business and create opportunities for them to share photos on social media.
Sending swag to a few exclusive customers makes them feel special and rewards them for their loyalty to your business. Customers are more likely to remember your business and to consider buying your products again.
2. Offer a discount
63% of customers think businesses should show their appreciation by offering discounts to loyal customers. Giving customers a temporary discount for your products or services in honor of Customer Appreciation Day is a surprisingly simple way to say thank you, and also encourages them to buy again.
With discounts, you are providing them with something of monetary value while at the same time showing them that you care. They can benefit from more of your products and potentially place a bigger order than they would otherwise.
3. Create customer stories
Shining a spotlight on a few of your best customers is a great way to show your appreciation and also showcase your products. You can post your stories on your blog or social media and share with others what makes your customers so great.
Your customer stories don’t have to be long, just a few words that can highlight the importance of your customer.
Customer stories are a great way to demonstrate customers actually using your products and drive awareness for your brand at the same time. Gather your helpdesk agents and talk to them about whether they’ve received any instances of particularly positive customer feedback, which might be from individuals who would be open to providing a story.
Stories have the most impact when you share them with images, ideally of customers enjoying your products if possible. When you share a customer story, this personalizes and humanizes your brand at the same time.
4. Send a handwritten note
Craft a heartfelt thank you message saying you appreciate how much your customer has contributed to the business and helped it grow. Your thank you message should be handwritten and use the customer’s name, with a personal signature from someone in the company.
Consider using stylish, branded stationery that will impress your customers.
You can take the opportunity to share company updates and talk about the ambitions your business has moving forward. Customers will feel more involved in the company’s journey and understand the role that they’ve played in shaping the business.
You can ask the customer about their last purchase and whether it is working well. Whatever you talk about, be authentic and make sure to leave out any promotional aspects of your business. Make it all about the customer.
5. Donate to a charity on behalf of your customers
89% of shoppers stay loyal to a brand that shares their values. That’s why another way to appreciate your customers is to make a charitable donation to an organization of their choice, spreading goodwill and supporting vital causes.
It’s best to let customers suggest the cause they would like to support since there might be a cause that is very close to their heart. Customers will be very touched by your generosity and supporting charities shows that your business cares about more than simply making a profit.
Use Customer Appreciation Day as an opportunity to help make the world a better place while at the same time making your customers feel valued. Don’t forget to share your donations on social media so other customers will be aware of your business’s initiative.
6. Give a free upgrade to their subscription
If you’re operating a subscription-based business, you can reward your customers by offering a free upgrade that will help them trial your service. They can try out new features and enjoy the VIP treatment, all for free in honor of Customer Appreciation Day.
Offering a free subscription upgrade is a nice surprise for customers who may have been thinking about upgrading already.
Identify customers who have been paying for your subscription service for a year and who you think might qualify for a free upgrade. Email them to let them know that they are entitled to a free upgrade and that there’s nothing else they need to do. They can start taking advantage of the new service right away.
Free upgrades are a great way to introduce customers to an aspect of your service and make them feel special. It’s a relatively inexpensive way for businesses to thank customers who have been loyal to their brand for a long time.
7. Pay their bill
If a customer has an unpaid bill with your company you can make their day by writing it off. It’s an unexpected gift that will earn you customer loyalty by doing this one small favor. Customers will truly appreciate you forgiving them what they owe and be motivated to spend more with your brand in the future.
You can pick five customers at random to make fulfilling their bill even more special. It’s a powerful moment when customers sign into their account to check their balance and see that their bill has been paid. Your company will develop a reputation for being generous and as a brand that truly values their customers.
Spontaneously picking up a customer’s bill is like a friend who decides to treat you.
It doesn’t have to be a large amount. What’s important is that you paying their bill should be a surprise so it comes across as an unexpected gift.
8. Run a competition
Customer competitions can be a great way to generate excitement with customers competing against each other to win prizes. Competitions help you reach out to a large number of customers at once and earn you positive sentiment for your brand.
One idea for a competition is to invite customers to post a picture of themselves using your product, with a prize for the best one. You could ask your other customers to choose the winner by voting on their favorite photo with likes. This approach could generate you a lot of material for customer stories and it’s exciting to see customers actually using your products.
Competitions are not only a way to reach out to existing customers but could put your brand in front of people who might be willing to try your products.
Make sure the prize that you offer is something of real value, and that customers will be willing to put time and effort into winning. Don’t forget to advertise the fact that your competition is in honor of Customer Appreciation Day.
9. Host an exclusive event
Take this opportunity to move your customer appreciation offline and host an exclusive event for your VIP customers. Send out invitations to your special event and allow customers to interact with your products while enjoying free food and drink.
This is a chance to connect with your customers on a personal level and thank them for doing business with you.
Exclusive events can be memorable occasions for your customers that allow you to celebrate Customer Appreciation Day in style. They’re a chance for customers to get closer to your brand and get to know your staff who are hosting the event.
Motivate your customers to attend your event by providing exciting activities and free giveaways.
However you choose to thank your customers, it’s important to be authentic and genuinely want to reach out to them. Customers can spot a marketing ploy a mile off, but they will be touched by your business’s honest display of appreciation.
Your gestures of appreciation don’t have to be expensive, since what’s makes customer appreciation important is showing your customers that you care.
Sometimes the most powerful way to demonstrate appreciation to your valued customers is through something that takes time and effort to achieve. Making sure your actions are personal and thoughtful is a surefire way to impress your customers and earn their loyalty in the long-run.
Customer Appreciation Day is an opportunity for your business to generate goodwill and go one step further than simply customer service. Loyal customers who are valued will spend more, return time and time again, and tell their friends about you.