Guides & Explainers

Customer Appreciation 101: 10 Creative Strategies for Your Business

January 3, 2024
min read
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Building a strong, lasting relationship with your customers goes beyond transactions. It's about fostering a human connection while providing value and meeting their needs in business.

In this article, we'll look at 10 creative strategies to express gratitude and strengthen your customer relations. To give you ideas to try for your business, we'll share examples from companies that have mastered the art of customer appreciation.

1. Personalized Video Messages

In a world saturated with emails and text messages, personalized video messages truly stand out. They can be a warm and genuine way to express appreciation. And, they can be as wildly creative and entertaining as you make them! Of course, it's important to stay on brand, so refer to your company values and good judgment to craft the most suitable form of expression.

As an example, at the end of 2023, Spotify included special Thank-You video messages from their top artists in the annual Wrapped playlists. Even though the artists didn't record an individual message for every customer, it offered a sense of delightful surprise. The videos were simple and unscripted, amplifying the speaker's presence and humanity.

Showing a real person behind the brand or product adds a personal touch and humanizes the company. Even if your employees aren't pop stars, what matters is the genuine effort to connect on a personal level.

2. Live and Virtual Thank You Events

Whether online or in person, large or small, events can help businesses build loyalty with their customers. In the virtual realm, businesses can leverage webinars, interactive sessions, and engaging presentations. This helps foster a sense of community and connection.

Live events, on the other hand, provide an opportunity to convey appreciation in a more personal and memorable way. Salesforce, a huge CRM software company, does this with Dreamforce, one of the largest events in the world.

You don't need to replicate Salesforce and its magnitude, but you can take note of their creativity. Take inspiration from them by hosting well-known speakers and musicians.

Whatever you choose to do, focus on giving your customers value beyond what your company can deliver. 

3. Surprise Snail Mail

In an age dominated by digital communication, receiving a surprise package in the mail can be a delightful experience. Don't fret if your industry's products don't fit into a mailbox. You can partner with services that can create memorable mail for you. 

It can be a gesture as simple as sending a handwritten note, a box of sweets, some cool stickers, or your company's swag. Whatever your idea, our company offers branding services for this purpose.

To take it up a notch, send a QR code on the card that leads to a hidden website with a thank-you video or an exclusive reward.

And, the more you know about the customer, the more you can personalize the mail. The options are limited only by your imagination.

4. VIP Loyalty Programs

Creating exclusive experiences or access for a selection of top-tier customers is a way to show how much you value them. With a VIP program, your most loyal customers get to enjoy extra perks, and thus they're incentivized to keep purchasing from you. 

What differentiates a loyalty program from a VIP program? The line can be blurred, but simply put, to participate in a loyalty program, the customer doesn't need to invest much and they self-select.

However, to become a VIP member, the customer has to meet certain criteria. It can be whatever suits your company. Some typical criteria include spending a certain amount of money or time with your company or acting as an informal brand ambassador. And, a VIP program should be tailored to the exclusive group members.

How can you make a program for your top customers? A customer VIP program typically involves offering exclusive perks, rewards, and personalized experiences. Tailored priority customer support is one common example.

The key is to create a tiered system that recognizes and appreciates customer loyalty.

5. Customer Appreciation Day

Customer Appreciation Day is another powerful strategy for businesses to thank customers. Here are some ideas to make this day special:

  • add a bonus to the customer's purchase on that day, like an additional product or a generous coupon for their next buy,
  • offer exclusive discounts,
  • organize live workshops with customers,
  • give customers useful company swag with their purchases, like a branded reusable coffee cup.

For instance, a clothing store may offer VIP shopping hours with special discounts. Meanwhile, a fitness center might organize free classes or wellness workshops. A digital company may offer an additional service or host fun online activities.

You can get as creative with this day as you wish. It's all about nurturing a positive atmosphere by recognizing and rewarding customer loyalty.

6. Charitable Contributions in The Customer's Name

A company's charitable contributions can also be used to express customer appreciation. Charity enables your company to spread your gratitude beyond the customer.

Plus, this is an impactful tactic to demonstrate a commitment to shared values. It works best if the charitable cause you contribute to resonates with your audience.

For example, as a housing development company, you may contribute to housing solutions for refugees. Or, if your company's production involves timber, commit to planting trees every year. TOMS, a shoe company that is known for its commitment to social responsibility, donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every purchase.

You can take it a step further by organizing volunteering opportunities for customers or hosting these in their name. And make this an opportunity to showcase their efforts in a newsletter or your social media.

By leveraging philanthropy, companies can make a positive impact while strengthening customer relationships.

7. Exclusive Beta Access

This strategy allows selected users to be the first to experience and provide feedback on new features. This makes customers feel valued and engages them in the brand's development process. And, of course, this strategy gives your business invaluable information.

To make this a successful customer appreciation effort, make sure to engage with the customers' comments and say thanks. Ideally, you should strive to implement their feedback and send follow-ups about your progress. This will make them feel heard and valued, which is the basis for customer loyalty.

Offering exclusive beta access to upcoming products or features is a strategy embraced by many tech companies, including Google. This allows a company to express gratitude while collecting valuable insights for their product development process.

If you're a physical company, give a group of loyal customers samples to test. As an example, Madara Cosmetics sends samples and a simple feedback form to customers who sign up to test their upcoming products.

8. Feature Them in a Newsletter: Spotlighting Success

This is a multi-purpose strategy that reaches beyond expressing gratitude. You get to showcase clients' achievements with your product and provide them with exposure.

HubSpot, a leader in inbound marketing, regularly features customer success stories in its newsletters. HubSpot not only acknowledges the value of its customers but also provides them with valuable exposure.

To make your customer spotlight a success, remember that it's about them and not your products. If they're a business, highlight how well they're performing or what value they bring to the market. Plus, you'll want to check in with them and get their consent before publishing.

9. Customized Playlists or Podcasts

This creative gesture not only expresses gratitude but also enhances customer experience. Imagine yourself receiving a customized playlist or podcast tailored to your tastes. Isn't that so delightful to experience?

Spotify, a music streaming service, is well known for personalizing its premium subscribers' listening experience.

How can you translate this to your company, especially if you have nothing to do with music or podcasting? For one, compile a list of podcasts or episodes that can support the customer's business or their specific role. Look for topics that somehow tie their occupation and your company together.

Alternatively, opt for podcasts or music that reflect your company's values or can provide entertainment to the customer.

10. Create a Branded Community

Building a community around your brand can foster connections among your clients and also boost sales. One of the most prominent examples of such a community is Nike Running Club. It unites runners worldwide through a shared passion for fitness and the brand.

Members can access personalized training plans, challenges, and exclusive content. Their in-person workouts create an environment for their customers to make friends and build a healthier life together.

What makes up a branded community for customer appreciation? Things like offering exclusive perks, early access to products, and a platform for customers to engage with one another.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, we've shown you that there are so many ways to connect with your customers and show them you care. Whichever strategy you choose, it's the narrative of genuine care and appreciation that makes the most impact.

Remember, it's not just about the product or service you provide; it's about the people you serve. So, go ahead, show them some love, and watch your business relationships flourish.

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