Your customers are the reason your business exists, so it pays to have a customer appreciation strategy in place to reward them and incentivize them to continue working with your business. Most business owners realize that their customers are important, but they neglect the customer appreciation side of things.
Fortunately, there are plenty of customer appreciation options that can easily boost your customer retention and improve your business’s profitability. It pays to get creative and give your customers more rewards for working with your brand.
Why Invest in Customer Appreciation?
It’s true that customer appreciation has some costs, but it’s almost always worth the investment.
- Customer loyalty. For starters, brands with a customer appreciation program in place tend to have much higher customer loyalty. Customers are much more likely to make repeated purchases in the future and are much less likely to turn to a competitor. With higher customer retention and an edge over the competition, you can set yourself up for years of profitability.
- A stronger community. Some customer appreciation strategies also allow you to build a stronger community, encouraging your customers to form connections with each other as well as with your brand. This can improve your brand’s visibility while reinforcing your strongest customer bonds.
- Referrals, recommendations, and brand reputation. Members of customer appreciation programs are typically much more likely to recommend their favorite brands to their friends and family members. Over time, your company will benefit from a better reputation and a strong inward flow of new referrals.
Ideas for Improving Your Approach to Customer Appreciation
So what steps can you take to improve your customer appreciation approach?
- Use technology, but don’t forget about human touch. Modern brands have shifted to engage with customers using a wide range of different technology platforms and automated solutions like chat bots. While this can save money and improve convenience, it’s still missing something. You’ll have much more success with customer appreciation strategies if you also include a personal, human touch. Apps like BONDAI make this easier than ever; it combines the hallmarks of a typical customer experience platform with the power of personal touch, allowing you to cultivate more personal brand-consumer relationships.
- Send simple automated emails. As long as you have a good foundation of relationship building and personal touch, automated emails can be a powerful boon for your business. They cost almost nothing and require no manual effort, but they can send a thank you message to customers who have recently ordered from you and follow up with customers you haven’t heard from in a while.
- Recognize and respond to reviews. Your customers are likely submitting reviews for your products and your business regularly. Take the time to recognize and respond to these reviews, even the negative ones. Doing so shows that you’re personally invested in your customers happiness and gives you an opportunity to follow up with customers who might have had a bad experience.
- Create a robust loyalty program (and make it worth using). Next, create a customer loyalty program. Giving customers simple rewards for shopping with your business consistently will make them feel better about your brand and encourage more interactions in the future. Just make sure your rewards make the program worth using; a monthly coupon that saves users 25 cents isn’t going to cut it.
- Include free extras when possible. If you can afford to do so, provide your customers with free extras whenever you can. Including a bonus product in a shipped package can be a wonderful surprise – and upgrading your customers to a deluxe package could give them a much better experience. It’s something they may talk about for months.
- Give shout-outs on social media. Recognize individual customers on social media, especially if they’re already talking about your brand. Everyone loves a shout-out, and it requires almost no effort on your part.
- Focus on your biggest and best customers. Remember the Pareto principle; 80 percent of your revenue will come from 20 percent of your customers. Focus on your biggest and best customers when planning rewards, thank you messages, and other forms of customer appreciation. It’s still important to thank and recognize your smaller customers, but your biggest clients are the ones keeping you afloat.
- Pay attention to your competitors. Don’t neglect your competition. Do your research and pay attention to the customer appreciation strategies being leveraged by your opponents; it can help you devise better tactics of your own.
There’s a lot of room for creativity in customer appreciation programs. Don’t limit yourself to ideas you find online or strategies already utilized by your competitors. Get to know your audience as much as you can and give them the rewards that will keep them loyal for years.