Ask anyone who has been in business for a while and they will tell you that, retaining an old customer is far easier than acquiring a new one. That’s why today, we have many businesses paying special attention to customer relationship management. Here are some customer appreciation day ideas that will surely work for you.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”
– Michael LeBoeuf
Celebrating the loyalty and patronage of clients by conducting customer appreciation days is a customer retention strategy followed by numerous businesses. Customer appreciation days are, many a time, an important part of the company’s marketing strategy too, as they offer a unique opportunity to businesses to introduce new products, or promote the older ones to their customers. Looking at its advantages, if you too are planning on keeping one, the given ideas are sure to help you out.
Ideas for Customer Appreciation Day
Organize a Raffle
As a host, raffle is an easy bet for you; it’s fun and interesting for practically everyone. To play traditionally, you can sell out each ticket for a minimum fare ($1 to 5$) and the winner, in turn, will get the total collections. However, it is suggestible to be somewhat creative, and gift interesting items in place of the cash reward. Ultimately, it is supposed to be a fun get-together and not a lucky draw. In this case, you can donate the proceeds generated from ticket sales to a charity, or similar organization.
Everybody Loves a Gift!
Personalized gifts are a great idea for customer appreciation days. However, making a perfectly personalized gift for everyone could be almost impossible, especially in larger organizations. In that case, instead of handing out standard gifts to one from a common bag, take the extra effort of adding a handwritten name card to every gift! Remember, everyone loves feeling special, even if it is on a very very small scale.
Offers & Promotions
Though the central idea for this day is to thank your customers, any good salesman would jump at this opportunity to spike up the numbers. You can subtly advertise for an early bird discount, or other great deals. A restaurant can give out coupons for the next visit while a travel agency can give added inclusions on packages, and depending on the business, you can design irresistible deals (or at least those that ‘look’ so).
Show Greater Returns!
A customer is always greedy; let’s face it, we all are! Giving returns, like cashback benefits is a great way to reel in some fresh (or existing) customers. For example: If you’re into any form of merchandise sales, you can provide discount coupons (valid on the next purchase) to everyone who bills with you today. While a customer is content getting extra value for his money, you stand to profit today, as well as in the near future — a win-win either way!
Branded Giveaways – You Ought to Brand These
This is a very commonly employed marketing idea, especially on customer appreciation days. Be it mugs, T-shirts or key chains, any kind of giveaway item needs to be branded. You are anyway bearing the buying cost, a few more bucks (printing as a bulk order is usually way cheaper) and the same stuff serves for marketing as well as branding. In today’s world, a brand name is a huge factor for any business — make sure yours is visible!
Barbecues are Always In!
A barbecue is an evergreen idea — you really can’t go too wrong with it. Get a massive grill or have several small barbecues, and let them get cooking! It’s one of those effortless ways in which people gel together without you having to blow your brains over it. However, ensure that you have help around. Just in case some people are hesitant to get their hands dirty, you’ll need to have some staff at hand that’ll do the cooking.
Most people shy away from such a concept because it’s somewhat homely or not ‘formal enough’. That’s where they go wrong; the whole idea of a customer appreciation event is to get to know your customers, make them feel comfortable and have fun; the more they’re at ease, the more are the chances of them developing a sense of belonging with your brand.
Goodie Bag: Wrapped Up Yummies!
There’s no denying that a goodie bag is a great idea; be it for five-year olds or fifty-year olds. Here, it’s more of the thought and effort that counts, than the content. It’s suggestible that you give it a bit of a personal touch. For example: If you’re adding cookies to the bag, don’t go for the packaged stuff — he’s your customer, he can obviously walk into any grocery outlet and afford one of those, so what you’re doing for him is really no good.
Instead, ask around for a great bakery, or give the order to a non-professional chef, like a grandmom who’s a brilliant baker! She’ll make equally good stuff (if not better) and definitely charge you lesser. The most important thing is that your clients will notice your efforts of going out of your way to get something different.
Make a Splash in an Inflatable Pool
There’s one important factor that each one of us needs to take into consideration while planning a customer appreciation day — entertainment for kids. Children may be completely irrelevant to your business, but if they’re bored, cranky, and tugging at their parents to get out, your event is definitely going to be a wash out. Not only that, a good customer appreciation day is one that is more of a family entertainer. The idea is that next time people would want to come with their friends — friend’s that could soon become your customers as well!
An inflatable pool is great way to keep the kids engrossed. Another plus is that it is an extremely cheap and feasible way to do so. All you need to do is to hire one of these, fill air and water, and let the kids splash away to glory — if only everything in life was so simple!
Get Your Clients to Bounce Along!
If you leave aside all the intricacies of the event, as a host, you want your guests to have a fun time and remember the event — having inflatable games is the perfect solution to this. You can easily rent them at an affordable cost, and watch your clients go nuts over them! It’s childish as some people may even refrain from trying it altogether, but those who do, will surely have a ball.
Other than the fact that inflatable games are fun and unique, they also work as great de-stressors. Bring out one of these to your customer appreciation days, and give your clients a hearty time.
This is an innovative idea used widely to entertain kids. Not only is it interesting for the tots, it adds a lot of color to the event. You can even go out on a limb by setting a theme, such as animals, monkey faces, or Red Indians — kids get a real kick out of such ideas!
Live Music Performance
Playing soft numbers that fade into the background is old-school. It might work for some occasions, but definitely not during a customer appreciation day. Be innovative and hire a live band; ideally, you should go for something perky and energetic — contemporary and country music work well.
Get a clown; for the cost of one entertainer, a clown performs the role of many. Though a clown, by himself, is a great entertainer, you can ask him to bring along balloons — they always work like a charm with the kids! Also, you can get him to escort the guests into the venue, or simply direct them through.
Treat Your Clients to a Movie
They are great as giveaways, or prizes during the event. Gifting a generic item can be quite traditional and boring at times, plus, a customer will definitely appreciate an event ticket over small materialistic objects that may or may not fancy him. Don’t restrict yourself; get a variety of tickets, such as those for plays, movies or stand-up acts — let your clients have a choice to take what they prefer.
Assorted Food Items
This one’s a no-brainer; complimentary food and drinks is the most basic idea of a customer appreciation day. What kind of food and drink to arrange will depend largely on your budget as well as the kind of turn out you are expecting. If it’s small-scale and limited to ‘inside-your-office, shake-hands and smile’ sort of a deal, then a bowl of punch and a few sandwiches should suffice. If you’re going all out within the best of your capabilities, then you can probably have a barbecue lunch or a buffet with fewer options.
Bonfire with Marshmallows
This ideally, will work best if you’re having an after-dark event on the customer appreciation day. Fuel a small campfire in a corner, and watch it attract people faster than moth to light! In today’s date, everyone is mostly preoccupied with work and other liabilities. Giving your customers a chance to enjoy simple things can take your relationship a long way.
You can organize simple games for kids, such as sack race and lemon-n-spoon. A pinata is another easy way to entertain kids. A traditional pinata is an animal-shaped doll filled with goodies and hung from a height. Each kid is then blindfolded and needs to take a bat, and beat the doll until the goodies roll out! Beware though, to have a pinata, someone will have to supervise the children to avoid getting hurt with the bat.
Despite excellent food, decorations, and deals, your event will be dampened without the right kind of entertainment. You can either hire a magician, professional dancers, or a stand-up comedian to entertain your customers. If your budget is slim, then go in for upcoming artists; those who’re talented but still not so widely known.
How to Plan a Customer Appreciation Day
One thing to always keep in mind is that customer appreciation days are not about simply throwing parties to please your customers. In fact, when planning one, you should be very clear about the goals that you want to achieve out of conducting such an event. For example, many companies plan customer appreciation days just before a lull period vis-à-vis sales, to boost their revenues.
Once the goals have been set, you have to start planning on the budget for the event. Depending on the budget, you determine whether only the customer will be invited, or his family as well; whether it will be a one-day, half-day, or a weekly event. Whatever freebies, discounts etc., that you plan to offer the customers, should be accounted for as well. The final budget is planned keeping the prospective sales and benefits from the event in account.
Food and Activities
After the budget is finalized, all the activities, such as product promotions, fun games, food menu, etc., are planned. Some unique and interesting customer appreciation day ideas regarding the same are discussed separately in the section above.
It is very important that you advertise the event well, so that all your customers are aware of it. So, send out mailers, special invitations to big clients, and advertise in local newspapers.
Such events are beneficial for a company’s promotion as well as play a big hand in building long-lasting business relationships. From the client’s point of view, they are entertained thoroughly and also get to take home freebies and discounted products. So, it can be said that appreciation days are a “win-win” for both the company as well as its clients.