December 15, 2021
Whether you’re an up-and-coming startup or an established business, you should make a habit of practicing customer recognition from day one. Customer recognition is a way of showing respect and gratitude to individuals or other businesses who buy your products or services.
Integrating this powerful tactic into your business strategy will go a long way in helping you maintain a loyal and engaged customer base.
The Importance of Customer Recognition
No matter your vertical or industry, operating a successful business without customers is impossible. To maintain growth, you not only need to attract new customers, but you must also do your best to retain existing ones.
Customers who feel that you value their patronage will continue doing business with you. Recognizing those who have been loyal to you can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Consider these five business benefits of customer recognition:
- Drive revenue growth from repeat customers.
- Reduce customer acquisition and paid advertising costs.
- Free marketing from customers who spread positive word of mouth about your business.
- Prevent customers from leaving you for a competitor.
- Build a trustworthy brand image from genuine reviews about positive customer experiences.
With so many people connected online 24/7, word spreads quickly about negative experiences people have with businesses.
According to a recent study by BrightLocal, 79% of customers trust online reviews. The same study also concluded that people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from close friends and family members.
What does this mean for your business? Keeping current customers satisfied translates into more revenue without having to spend a dime on advertising.
Chewy, America’s largest online pet food retailer, is an excellent example of how to use good customer service as an acquisition strategy. To make every customer feel special, Chewy welcomes them with a unique handcrafted note created by one of their artists. If one of their customer’s pets passes away, Chewy will send flowers and a condolence note.
With this highly effective and creative strategy, Chewy was able to beat Amazon and become the leading online pet food retailer.
5 Effective Ways to Recognize Loyal Customers
Customer and client appreciation shouldn’t be a one-time occurrence. When you say “thank you” to customers, you’re acknowledging them for choosing you.
Here are five effective tactics you can use to ensure your customers are feeling the love.
1. Send a Message
If you’ve just begun your business or aren’t sure how to show appreciation, you can’t go wrong with a simple thank-you message. A handwritten note is a personal display of gratitude that will leave an impression on your clients or customers.
Be sure to make it personal, though. Your thank-you message should be customized to reflect specific experiences your customer has had with your business. You can do this by referencing past purchases or simply mentioning the customer’s name in the letter.
If you’d like to take it a step further with a team-bonding exercise, check out Sketch it Forward. This virtual activity makes it easy for your team to make greeting cards that can be customized with a note of appreciation and sent to customers.
2. Offer a Discount or Loyalty Gift
People love to receive free things. For example, one study found that you could increase your sales by 73% with a bonus pack. If the client already likes your product, they’ll like it even more if they can get something else for free. You might also consider launching a loyalty program such as a punch card to thank your clients for doing business with you.
If you’d like to give something more special, offer thoughtful gifts to repeat customers. For example, a free product from your store or even company merchandise will make it clear to customers that you value their loyalty.
For those willing to go the extra mile, consider giving an experience instead of a gift. You could organize an exciting Chocolate Tasting Experience with your client that will surely get everyone’s taste buds tingling.
3. Designate a Customer Appreciation Window
Organize a get-together with your loyal customers, hold a special promotion, or even give away free items during a customer appreciation event. You can make this an annual thing, and make customer appreciation an ongoing practice in your company.
Continuity is key here. Keep reminding your customers that you are grateful for their business on a regular basis. Designating a customer appreciation window or holding a special event once in a while will engage existing customers and help attract new ones.
4. Donate to a Cause Your Customers Care About
Customer recognition and giving back to charity go hand in hand. Choose a local charity that is committed to making a positive impact on the community and make a donation on your customers’ behalf.
Donating to a cause your customers are passionate about will create a sense of belonging. By doing business with you, your customers will be positively affecting the community at large, not just your bottom line.
5. Practice Excellent Customer Service
The absolute best thing you can do to show customer appreciation is to provide stellar customer service. There is no value in practicing customer recognition when your customer service isn’t up to par.
Listening to your customers and implementing their feedback is an excellent way to level up your customer service initiatives. To help you understand how your customers feel about your business, consider establishing a customer feedback collection process.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by monitoring what your customers write about you in their online reviews. If someone is unhappy with your services, be sure to respond in a respectful manner, even if you believe that the customer is wrong.
How others perceive you is what matters, not how you see yourself or your business. Be strategic when responding to negative feedback, and never attack your customers for expressing their views.
Build a Team that Appreciates Your Customers
The importance of customer appreciation and recognition cannot be overstated. Customers who feel appreciated will likely share positive experiences with their friends and family. According to research from Invesp, customers are 90% more likely to buy from a company recommended by a friend. To benefit from word-of-mouth marketing, you must practice good customer service and customer recognition from day one.
Effective and engaging team-building activities can help improve how your team interacts with customers. Reach out to us today to learn more about team-building activities that are designed to improve communication, boost engagement, and create a sense of belonging.