Polite cashier at shop attending customer at cashier. Concept: customer appreciation.
Suzanne Llanera
By: suzanne_llanera
Read in 11 minutes

15 Affordable Ways to Show Customer Appreciation

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

In business as in life, being thankful is not good enough if unexpressed. Do you want your business to succeed? Show customer appreciation. Let your customers know you are grateful!  

You might ask – “What’s the big deal about showing gratitude to customers?”. After all, most of them buy online and don’t mind dealing with faceless entities. A “thank you” message they receive is usually a notification that their orders have been shipped. 

Well, according to a study made by the Rockefeller Corporation, 68% of customers leave a company because they feel they are taken for granted. Many people may think prices are the primary reason why customers don’t come back. However, take note: Only 9% of those surveyed mentioned price as a factor.    

In case you aren’t aware, on average, 65% of a business’s gross income is from repeat customers. Also, the cost of acquiring new customers is five times more than the cost of keeping current ones. Doesn’t it make sense to increase your efforts to retain your existing customers? 

We’re sure you’re suddenly experiencing a light bulb moment and to help you out, we have tips for you on how you can show customer appreciation. And the best part is, putting them into practice won’t break the bank!

15 Tips to Show Customer Appreciation

1. Start with the Simple Stuff 

Everyone wants to feel they matter – your potential and existing customers included. We are social beings and it’s our nature to desire validation that we are unique individuals – not just one of many. Gimmicks are not always necessary to show customer appreciation. Often, simple gestures will do the job.   

If you have frontline staff, it’s best if you remind them of the following:

  • Welcome customers as you would welcome friends.
  • Don’t forget to smile or say hello when someone enters your shop. You’re not just being polite but you are acknowledging the person’s presence.
  • Ask how you can be of help.
  • Existing customers like being addressed by name.
  • Engage in small talk but listen more.
  • Say “Thank you” or “have a good one” sincerely even when people leave without purchasing anything.
  • Greet your customers when you see them elsewhere.

2.  Get to Know Your Customers Better

Go beyond knowing your customers’ names. Familiarize yourself with their preferences or tastes.  Make a record of their purchases. There are many benefits of getting to know your customers. Keeping them loyal to you is just one.

We don’t mind the long walk to a deli every Tuesday because the proprietor always readies our sandwiches for pick-up. He made an effort to note what our favorites are. This is customer appreciation in action and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Why not create a database of your customers? Ask for their e-mail addresses and contact numbers. Have ready forms for them to fill out. If they are in a rush, ask for their business cards.  Remember to include in your database the products they purchase from your business. And, when asking for information, assure them you won’t share their personal data with others.

3. Ask for Feedback from your Customers

Before leaving your shop or store, ask your customers for feedback. It’s so easy to print small questionnaires for their opinions on your products or services. Trust us, they’ll feel valued with this simple act. If they are in a hurry, give them your e-mail address or business card.     

4. Reply to Your Customers Promptly

Respond to your customers promptly if they contact you by text, e-mail or social media. If a problem is raised, it may not be possible to resolve it immediately. Acknowledge receipt of their communication first with a promise you’ll get back to them with solutions. Make sure though you’ll live up to your words.          

5. Send an E-Birthday Card

One of the best ways to show customer appreciation is to send birthdays greetings. Make it more interesting by sending them an E-Card.  Many sites that offer scheduled e-card delivery.  We’ll mention one, Punchbowl, because of its good reviews. Membership can be free but you don’t want your customers receiving greeting cards with annoying ads. It’s better to pay $3.99 a month which allows you to send as many as 500 cards, advertisement-free.    

Search the internet and you will find more card-sending platforms. And, like us, read the reviews.  

6. Give a Gift

The big brands and stores offer packages for businesses that want to show customer appreciation with gift cards. You can send your customers gift cards worth $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 or even more. Order online and your customers can receive your gift in a matter of minutes. Whether it’s coffee, pizza or a GC for a retailer, your customers will appreciate something they can enjoy at their leisure.    

CaminoTip: Include a little token of appreciation in your shopping bags. Let your customers discover it once they leave your shop.

7. Have an exclusive Preferred Customers’ Hour

Do you expect crowds when you have a sale? Designate an hour or two, exclusively for your valued customers. You can even call it your customer appreciation hour. Make them feel special by inviting them first before making a public announcement.    

8. Participate in celebrating Holidays and Special Occasions   

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Give out heart-shaped candies, lollipops or chocolates to your customers. You can also send greetings through e-mail, texting or social media. Whatever the occasion is, wish your customers well or have appropriate giveaways. Be sensitive though on what holidays they observe.

9. Handwrite Thank You Notes

Handwritten cards or notes will have a significant impact on your customers. It lets them know you made an effort to express they matter to you. Keep it short but make it sincere and honest.

In bulk, a hundred 4×6 Thank You cards will cost between 16 to 22 cents each. Add at least 55 cents for postage and you’ll end up spending 77 cents for each customer. It’s a small investment for a lot of gains.         

10. Say Thank You with a discount or upgrade

Surprise your repeat customers with either when they check out. Let them know it’s your treat because they have been loyal to you. Saying “thank you” is good but discounts and upgrades are better.    

11. Give out Freebies

We’ve heard of an auto-repair shop that gave out bags of homemade cookies to its select customers. Some people have jokingly surmised that customers returned for the cookies, not for the service. Finding meaningful but affordable items for your customers is a challenge. Our advice: exclude cost during your search and you’ll come up with many ideas.      

12. Texting Still Works

“Hi (Name). Thank you for your purchase. We hope our product serves you well. Please contact us at (phone number) if you need further assistance.” A simple message yet it reminds customers that you continue to care for their needs well after they have left your shop.    

13. Keep Your Customers in the Loop

Show customer appreciation by keeping your customers informed. If you’re moving or changing your contact details, selling new products, adding services or will be closed on a particular day, let them know individually. It’s also a way to re-connect with customers you haven’t seen in a while.     

14.  Go the extra mile  

Offer to help your customers carry their stuff to their car or home if it’s within walking distance.  If they forget a bag or other personal belongings in your shop, don’t wait for them to return: try to catch up with them. Allow your customers to use your restroom even if they don’t buy or consume anything. If you provide a service or you have a waiting room, offer water, coffee, and small snacks. Good deeds still count a lot.

15. Promote Your Customers Too

Some of your customers may be entrepreneurs like you. If they ask your help in promoting their business, say “yes.” Others may be active in your community. If they ask for your support for a project, agree to do so. Showing customer appreciation means valuing their occupations and vocations too. 

The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Appreciation

A thin line divides customer appreciation and customer service. The former is a proactive endeavor. The latter is reactive. It only becomes relevant when a customer has a problem with your product or service. 

But, providing excellent customer service is also a way to show customer appreciation. Make sure your business deals with your customers’ concerns in a timely and professional yet friendly manner.

Philip Kotler said, “Customer is king.” We’ll say “Treat repeat customers like kings or queens.”  This sounds like an exaggeration but it isn’t. You now know why you need to keep your customers. Whatever you plan to do to make them happy, keep in mind, showing them appreciation is the key!     

Keep Reading:

   How to find and retain customers

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