7 Customer Appreciation Ideas for the Holidays
One of the best practices you can adopt as a small business owner is to routinely express appreciation for customer loyalty, and there’s no better time to show customer appreciation than during the holidays. I’ve found the most meaningful expressions of gratitude share three common traits:
- Personalized to each individual customer
- Unique and therefore, memorable
- Not sales pitches
The following lists seven ideas for thanking loyal customers during the holidays and demonstrates how each satisfies the aforementioned requirements.
1. Personalized products
Pens, coffee mugs, beverage coasters, and other products can be personalized with your customers’ names (along with your brand name and logo), and given away as gifts during the holidays. Think of stationery gift sets, office gift sets, or other types of relevant gift sets your customers will appreciate. Personalized products are personal by their very nature; a gift set is unique and memorable, especially when it has your customer’s name on it; and even though they can display your branding, they’re not overt sales pitches.
2. Greeting cards
Holiday greeting cards are excellent ways to thank your most loyal customers, especially when you take the time to pen personal notes for each customer. You won’t have time to do this for hundreds of customers, but you can do so for a few dozen of your best and most loyal patrons. Don’t just write a holiday sentiment; instead, make your message personal by recalling a conversation you’ve had with each customer. Print custom holiday greeting cards to make your presentation unique, and be sure to express your gratitude rather than try to sell customers on something else.
3. Restaurant reservations
Can you get VIP reservations for the hot new restaurant in town? Pass them along to your most loyal customers, especially those who love to dine out. Your attention to detail and generosity won’t go unnoticed. You can deliver reservations in greeting cards for a double-dose of appreciation.
4. Wine, beer, chocolate, etc.
My insurance agent and I share a love of microbrews. One of his other clients is a major statewide distributor, and when this distributor told him they were going to be offering a new microbrew, he was able to secure a few bottles before their statewide release – and gave several to me.
If your customers have mentioned an affinity for beer, wine, chocolate, cigars, or other foods and drinks, you can thank them with special gifts in the same vein. For example, you might get a six-pack of a special microbrew for one customer, a special limited-edition vintage wine for another, or a box of hard-to-get imported chocolate for another. You can even have custom labels printed to add a touch of your own branding.
5. Gift cards/certificates
An easy way to express customer appreciation is to give away gift cards or gift certificates good for purchases at your business. Because they have value, they’re not overt sales pitches (though customers will often spend above and beyond their values); and if you include a personal note explaining why you thought they would like a gift card (perhaps they were considering a purchase) your gift cards will be more memorable.
6. Major coupons
Coupons are typically considered marketing tools, but if you can offer customers a great deal, they can be expressions of gratitude. For example, you might offer a buy-one-get-one-free special in which you really don’t make much profit but your customers are able to double-up on what they want. Naturally, they’ll probably spend more once they’re shopping, but that’s besides the point. Again, a personal note or greeting card explaining why you sent each customer the coupon offers added value.
This might be the easiest holiday thank-you gift you can give to your customers, especially for service-based companies, but it’s also very powerful: give your customers a free upgrade on services they already have.
In addition to the three common traits shared by great displays of customer appreciation, each of these ideas is dependent on your ability to listen to your customers. When you listen to your customers, and then respond according to what they’ve said they want or like, they’ll in turn appreciate the fact that you truly care about them as people, not just buyers. That leads to even more fervent customer loyalty. Pay attention to what your customers have to say, then thank them this holiday season with one of the seven ideas listed here.
Do you have your own favorite way to thank customers during the holidays? Share it with us in the comments!