91% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company that shows appreciation for their customers. Customer appreciation may look a little different in 2021 than it has in the past, but it’s even more important than it ever has been before. As we’re closing 2020 and entering the new year, people are still trudging through the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no better time than now to show your customers how much you appreciate them. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding what 2021 will look like for everyone- individuals and businesses. One thing that has kept people going throughout all the stress and change has been togetherness. Keep that in mind as you create your customer experience plans for the new year.
Ring in 2021 by creating goals around building stronger relationships with your customers. We’ve gathered some of the best customer appreciation ideas for 2021, and we want to share them with all of the business owners who feel a lit. lost during these strange times:
Send a Handwritten Note
In a world swarming with technology and “social distancing,” what could go further than a handwritten note to show your appreciation? Taking the time to write a quick thank you note to your customers following a service or purchase will show them just how much your business values them as a customer. Sending a handwritten letter through the mail will showcase your creativity and care for your customers, while also making your business stand out against the competition.
Offer a Discounted Service during these Difficult Times
Times are difficult for businesses and consumers right now. If you don’t have the means to offer a discount, that’s ok. There are plenty of other customer appreciation ideas that you can use instead. However, if you’re in a position to offer a discounted service, even just a small discount, that would be a great way to show your customers how much you appreciate their business. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed said that they have made a purchase they weren’t originally planning to make, simply because they received a coupon or discount. That’s a lot of consumers coming through your door just because they want to utilize a great deal! Offering a discounted service during these difficult times allows customers to see that you feel for them and you want to continue to help out in every way possible.
Give Back to Your Community
Now more than ever people are on the lookout for businesses that are serving their communities. It’s true that face-to-face interactions are temporarily a “thing of the past,” but there are ways you can give back to your community while still following the COVID-19 safety precautions. Some of these are:
- Donating to a charity that is meaningful to your customer base.
- Collecting items that can be donated to those in need.
- Offering a percentage of your sales to a local charity.
- Clean up a park or two in your community.
- Provide a discount on your services to members of your community.
Giving back to your community is a great way to show customer appreciation, especially in 2021 when the world needs as much service as possible. Get creative and think outside the box to come up with a way to give back to your community, while also involving your customers.
Send Out Branded Gifts
Over 65% of consumers agree that they have an easier time remembering a business that gave them branded merchandise. Sending out branded gifts is the perfect way to appreciate your customers, while also keeping your business at the top of their mind. Branded merchandise makes your customers feel appreciated, and also becomes free advertising for your business. For example, we’ve all seen people walking around with Coca-Cola shirts and Utah Jazz hats. While these items may be a fashion statement, they’re also the perfect advertising tool for the business whose logo is being paraded around. What are some good branded gifts for your customers?
- A magnet with your logo and contact information that you give to each customer after completing a service.
- A t-shirt with your logo on it that customers can win through a social media giveaway.
- Pens that have your business’ information on them, so your customers remember you each time they take notes throughout the day.
- Sunglasses with your business logo on them. They don’t even need to be expensive. People enjoy freebies regardless of the quality.
Create a “Birthday Program”
30% of customers say that they have switched which company they work with because they don’t feel that their loyalty is being rewarded. While strong and positive customer service should be enough to keep customers coming back, statistics tell us that it simply isn’t. Customers want to feel appreciated and know that business owners value them and their loyalty. One great way to show customer appreciation is to create a birthday program! This adds a little bit of personalization with a loyalty program and creates the perfect customer appreciation tool. Sending out an automated email or text message to your customers the month of their birthday letting them know they can get a percentage or dollar amount off of your services throughout the month will show them that you really care. A birthday program is simple, effective and is beneficial for both the consumer and the business.
Know Your Customers & Value their Feedback
“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better.” -Kristin Smaby.
People want to feel heard, understood, and appreciated. Customers are no exception to that, and a great way to show your customers how much you appreciate them is through knowing them on a personal level and valuing their feedback. As mentioned again, customers share their negative experiences because they want to feel heard and they want to see changes. Some things may just be a difference in taste and not necessarily need adjustments. However, when a customer offers you free feedback and advice, listen to them! Allow your business to listen, learn, and grow from its most important critic- the customer.
Showing your customer that you want to offer them personalized service and care and that you value their feedback is the perfect way to show customer appreciation in 2021.
Use Your Data
Roughly 50% of business owners say that they utilize data to help them make better decisions. Using your data means that you’re tracking customer contact information, transaction data and knowing your customers’ purchasing habits. Use your data to show your customers how much you appreciate them by making life easier for them each time they work with your business. Giving your customers a reason to choose you over and over again is as simple as knowing and understanding what they need from you and how often they need it. How can you use your data to show customer appreciation?
- Personalize interactions. Knowing your customer on a first name basis helps to personalize each interaction with them. And what better way to show someone you appreciate them than through making them feel valued?
- Send out reminders to your customer when they’re due for another service with you, so they don’t miss out on important appointments.
- Understand which products/services of yours that your customer(s) are using so you can send them valuable content that is useful to them.
Feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason why customers steer away from a business they’ve been working with and find someone else to give their business to. Yikes. If that’s not incentive enough to implement these customer appreciation ideas in 2021, then we don’t know what is! The beauty of small businesses is that they can treat their customers as more than just a dollar sign, and the same can’t always be said for the big guys in the industry. The best way to treat your customer with care is to appreciate them and the fact that they are what is keeping your business going.
If you’re ready to get started implementing these customer appreciation ideas for 2021, but you need a little help from the experts, let us know. We’re here to help small businesses succeed any way we can!
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!