Without your customers, your business would be nowhere. You want them to buy from you. But when they do, are you saying thank you?
Today, customers are overwhelmed with almost endless options. Largely the thing that’s driving their decision between one business or another comes down to the customer experience. And feeling appreciated can go a long way in making or breaking the customer experience.
In this post, we’re sharing:
- Why customer appreciation is so important.
- 25 customer appreciation ideas to help you build relationships and retain your best customers.
- 15 customer appreciation quotes to spark some inspiration.
Thank you for reading! (See what I did there?) Let’s get to it.
Why customer appreciation matters
Why does customer appreciation actually matter? Consider these three points:
1. Helps you build customer relationships
The customer experience and building customer relationships are extremely important if you want to create loyal and repeat customers, which is central to growing your business. Thanking your customers for their business—in whatever way you decide works best for you—is an easy and impactful way to build this relationship.
Customer appreciation can help you hit three of the four items in this chart.
2. Increases retention
It’s a known fact that retaining your customers is more cost-effective than getting new customers. We know that it costs five-25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So by offering a small gesture (and many of our ideas will cost you little-to-no money) you can yield big returns while increasing customer retention. Sounds like a win to us!
3. Can lead to word-of-mouth marketing
When a customer feels appreciated, they might want to spread the word—either to their friends and family or to their connections on social media. While this isn’t (and shouldn’t be!) the reason to thank your customers for their business, it is an added bonus! Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best ways to get more customers (and it’s free!).
25 customer appreciation ideas (with examples!)
Customer appreciation can go a long way in building relationships, establishing trust, and retaining your customers. Here are some low-cost, high-value customer appreciation ideas to try.
1. Write a thank-you note
Sure, you’re used to thank you emails or texts, but when’s the last time you got a handwritten thank you note? There’s something special about knowing that someone picked out a special card, sat down to write you a thank you note, dug up your address from their old address book, and put on a stamp they had to buy at the grocery store.
This is a great customer appreciation idea because it’s personalized to your customers and shows that you care about them so much that you took time out of your day to write them a note.
You don’t need to write a thank you note for each and every customer, but you can choose five or 10 of your top customers and thank them for their business. You could even do this exercise monthly so that by the end of the year, you’ve thanked 60-120 customers! Or you could focus on it during specific times of the year—like Thanksgiving or the holidays.
2. Send thank you discounts and specials in your email newsletters
One of the easiest ways to thank customers for their business is to offer a special discount or promotion just for them. You can send an email newsletter to your loyal customers thanking them for their business and for their support. (Make sure to personalize the email with at least the recipient’s name!)
In a heartfelt and personal note, explain your gratitude and then offer a desirable discount or a free offer. Bakeries can hand out free cookies, restaurants can offer a special dessert, and professional services like cleaning companies can offer a discount on the next service.
In addition to sending out an email newsletter, post something on social media to thank your customers. You can even mention that customers will be getting a special discount in their inboxes. This will encourage people to sign up for your newsletter to get exclusive offers and deals.
3. Recognize a customer of the month
Do you have regular customers who are loyal advocates for your business? You might consider highlighting a customer of the month. This could be similar to an employee of the month program but for your most loyal customers.
Perhaps one of your lawn care customers has referred your business to all her neighbors. Or maybe you have a customer who visits your business every week to pick up the latest bakery treat. You can reward these customers with a special title and treats—like exclusive discounts, branded swag, and a free item or service. You can then highlight them on social media, in your email newsletters, and even in your storefront.
This is a fun way to show your customers you notice and are thankful for their support. And it can get other customers excited about the potential of winning this honor the next month!
4. Launch a customer loyalty program
Another way to show customer appreciation is to launch a loyalty program and reward your customers for their business. Your loyalty program could be as simple as a punch or stamp card or as detailed as a tiered program designed to reward your most loyal customers at a higher level than a simple discount.
Determine what would work best for you, your business, and your customers, and then check out our tips for launching a customer loyalty program.
5. Shout out your customers on social media
Another quick and easy way to show customer appreciation is to snap a photo of your loyal customers (with their permission!) and share it on your social sites.
This customer appreciation idea also helps fill your social calendar while giving your customers a little extra exposure—a win all around!
If your customers don’t want to be featured on your social media channels (some might be camera-shy), you can post a picture of your employees or share a short video thanking customers for their business and letting them know you appreciate them.
6. Offer future-use coupons to thank customers for their purchases
One way to thank customers directly after they make a purchase is to offer a future-use coupon. A future-use coupon is a coupon that can be redeemed at a later date and is given after an initial purchase. You could give out these coupons with every purchase or when a customer makes a purchase over $50 or more.
Here are some ideas for future-use coupons:
- Buy one, get one on your next purchase.
- Buy two get one free on your next purchase.
- 15% off your next purchase.
- 50% off your next purchase of $100 or more.
7. Thank customers with a free product or service
If a customer already loves your business, there’s nothing they’re going to love more than an exclusive freebie. This free product or service doesn’t have to be too costly—you can consider a free sample or a lesser version of a top service so you’re not breaking the bank.
You don’t have to give every customer a free product or service, so you might compile a list of your top customers from the year and treat them to something special. This truly shows your customers you appreciate them. And while you don’t want to offer this product or service with any strings attached, this can also be a good way to stay top of mind and encourage them to make additional purchases or schedule additional services (or to bring them back to your business!).
8. Run a giveaway or contest for current customers
Another way to show your customers some love is to run a giveaway or contest tailored to existing customers. You can do this in a few different ways:
- Run the contest through your email to your existing customer database.
- Run the contest in-store so customers who visit your location will see.
- Run the contest on social media but include some kind of qualifier (such as asking customers to share their favorite item they’ve purchased from you or to share a photo of themselves at your business).
This business ran a recipe contest where entries had to feature their product!
Make sure you clearly outline the contest or giveaway rules, what entrants need to do to win, how you’ll choose a winner, and when the winner will be announced.
Not only is this a fun way to show some customer appreciation by awarding a great prize, but it can keep customers engaged and encourage repeat business.
9. Host a customer party or open house
If you have the resources and it makes sense for your business, host a party or open house at your store and exclusively invite your current customers. You can advertise it as an after-hours event so as not to lose valuable business during the day. If you can’t facilitate the event in-store, host a barbecue or picnic at a local park or venue. Get to know the guests on a first-name basis for future interactions. Learning their wants and needs can help you promote your product or service to better fit your target audience.
Make sure the activities you plan not only promote interaction between you and your customers but your customers with each other. This creates a personal and more intimate atmosphere, leaving all the attendees with connections.
10. Sponsor community events or organizations your customers care about
You can also show appreciation for customers by getting involved with community events or organizations they care about.
Does one of your clients coach a Little League team? Become a sponsor! Help fitness center athletes organize a team for a local charity race. Volunteer your painting or pottery studio to a local Girl Scout or Youth Group to come and paint for free. Cater or donate food or drinks to a business networking event, charity event, or other local activity that is looking for donations. Ask around or listen to customers to seek out ways that you can help them by giving back.
11. Give back in their honor
Another way to show some customer appreciation while giving back is to actually give back—in their honor. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a social media poll to ask your customers what their favorite charity is and donate to the winning charity.
- Make a donation to a local organization or charity in the name of your customers. Let them know on social media and in your email newsletters.
- Find a local cause your customers care about and donate your time—along with your team’s!—to volunteering as a way to give back because your customers give you so much.
This customer appreciation idea is especially great around the holidays when there are so many organizations in need and so many opportunities to help.
12. Promote your customers’ businesses and interests
Another way to thank your customers for their business is to promote their businesses or interests. For example, you probably have at least a couple of customers who own, manage, or are invested in a business. You can promote their business on your social sites, in your email communications, and on a local news bulletin board in your business if you have one.
You probably also have some customers who are active with organizations or local interest groups—you can promote their events, fundraisers, and more by letting them put up flyers, sharing their posts on social media, or including them in a blog post round-up about local events.
This gluten-free bakery shared a video from a customer (who is also a doctor with a nutrition practice) with information relevant to their audience.
13. Surprise and delight your customers with a gift
A really fun way to show some customer appreciation is to surprise and delight your customers. This entails choosing a random customer to gift a special item, discount, or freebie. The best part is: They won’t be suspecting it!
You could choose the customer at random—perhaps you decide that the 100th customer of the day or week will get half off their purchase. Or you could choose a loyal customer and send them a free item or coupon for a free item out of the blue.
This customer appreciation idea also encourages word-of-mouth marketing because your customers will be so excited and surprised, they’ll want to spread the word!
You want your appreciation gifts for clients and customers to be something special. You might consider including a branded item, like a nice water bottle with your logo on it, along with non-branded items they can use and enjoy.
14. Send a birthday card or email
Recognizing your customers on their birthdays is another customer appreciation strategy that can go a long way. I personally love receiving personalized emails filled with discounts around my birthday. And other customers do too. In fact, birthday emails have a 179% higher unique click-through rate than regular promotional emails. (We walk through all the steps to create birthday emails here.)
If you don’t feel a birthday email is personal enough, you can also send a birthday card or postcard in the mail.
15. Give away some swag
Again, customers love items for free. And branded swag is an easy way to show your customers some appreciation. Plus, every time customers use branded swag with your logo on it, they’re giving you a little bit of free advertising.
Make sure the swag you’re giving to customers is useful to them—no flimsy frisbees or keychains. We’re talking branded tote bags, (nice) reusable water bottles, power banks, and more.
You can also tie the branded swag you give out back to your business. For example, a gym could give out branded gym bags, salons could give branded makeup bags with branded lip balm, and restaurants or liquor stores could give out nice branded bottle openers.
Just make sure to keep your free swag on brand and stay relevant to what your customers want so you can truly show your appreciation.
16. Host customer gatherings or meet and greets
Does your business have space where people can gather? You might consider allowing your customers to use your space for local meetings, fundraisers, and more. For example, your coffee shop is probably an ideal place for a local group to meet for planning or for Girl Scouts to sell cookies out front.
By allowing your customers to use your space for gatherings or meet and greets (as long as it doesn’t disrupt business or is after hours), you can show that you care and are thankful for their business—while also encouraging more foot traffic!
17. Extend store hours for loyal customers
Consider adding an extra hour before or after your regular business hours for your loyal customers. This gives them more time to shop and will keep it less crowded and more intimate. You can even provide light bites or beverages for them to enjoy while they shop.
This is a great customer appreciation strategy around the holidays. It lets shoppers avoid the rush and gives them the opportunity to enjoy their experience. Make sure to provide some holiday snacks and music to make it more of a party feel!
You can let customers know about these special hours and when they’ll be happening through email and potentially a direct mail piece. Combine special hours with a special discount, and your customers will be thanking you!
18. Make a thank you video
Another quick and easy way to thank your customers for their business is to create a thank you video. This can be short and sweet—just you, and perhaps your employees or your family, saying thank you for their business and for the ways they’ve supported you.
You can even make this a holiday thank you video and send it out around the winter holidays or the New Year.
19. Create a referral program that rewards them
Your current customers are your biggest and best opportunity to get new customers. One way to facilitate this is through a customer referral program.
By creating a formal customer referral program, you can not only reward new customers who try your business, but you can thank current customers for referring you.
For example, any time I refer a friend to my salon, the friend gets a 50% discount, and I get a free haircut. You better believe I’m referring everyone I know!
You can determine the reward that works best for your business—it may be a lesser discount but should still be something that will make customers feel appreciated for referring someone to your business.
20. Collect and implement customer feedback
Many times, customers feel appreciated when they feel like they’re being heard. One way you can do this is by collecting and implementing feedback. Use these customer feedback questions to identify areas of your business you can improve.
Take the responses from your customers to heart, and then let your customers know how you’re implementing their feedback to make meaningful changes. You might even get feedback for new products or services you can add that will make your customers happy while bringing in more revenue for your business!
21. Let customers sample new products or provide feedback on new services
Another way to collect feedback and show your customers you care about their ideas, thoughts, and opinions is by creating a focus group of loyal customers to sample new products or provide feedback on new services.
Perhaps one customer submitted an idea for a new service that you’re adding. Invite them to try your new service and give their thoughts on what can be improved or changed as part of your go-to-market strategy.
Or maybe you’re adding a new flavor of ice cream to your menu for the winter. Invite a handful of your best customers to try your ice cream and suggest a name for the new flavor.
By getting your customers involved in your business, you can show that you appreciate them and truly care.
22. Relax the red tape (when you can)
Sure, there are times you have to be strict when it comes to your business’s policies. But there are other times when you might be able to bend the rules for a loyal customer. (I’ve experienced this personally, and it always makes me feel very appreciated and special!)
For example, say a repeat customer has a coupon or offer that expired the week before. Instead of rejecting the coupon, let them know that you appreciate their business and that you’ll accept it this time. You might even give them an additional coupon to use on their next purchase as well!
Making customers feel special and like you’re prioritizing them can make them feel appreciated (and they might even leave you a 5-star review like in the example below!).
This goes a long way with building goodwill with your customers and making them want to continue doing business with you.
23. Provide drinks and snacks (or other small benefits) in-store
Another small way to make your customers feel appreciated and to increase their enjoyment of your business is to provide drinks and/or snacks, free Wi-Fi, or other small freebies at your location. This minimal expense can make a big difference.
For example, my vet keeps a small fridge stocked with water and sodas plus a snack basket by the front for people to take from while they’re there with their pets. They’ll even offer a drink once you get back into the exam room. It makes me feel like they appreciate my business and care about my comfort.
If it doesn’t make sense for you to have a fridge with drinks or a table with snacks, you could even set up a coffee machine with coffee pods for customers to use when they visit your business.
24. Include small freebies with every purchase
An easy way to thank customers for their business is to include some type of small freebie with every purchase. I recently went to a fall festival and purchased a mask from a vendor and she let me pick out a sticker to add to my bag. I haven’t gotten to pick out a sticker since I was a child at the dentist, so it was a nice surprise! This small token of appreciation made her stand out and made me feel like she really appreciates her customers.
Determine what type of freebie would work for your business—but even something as small as a piece of candy might be enough to make your customers feel appreciated for doing business with you.
25. Respond to all your reviews—including the positive ones!
This is an easy (and free!) way to show customer appreciation. Many businesses will only respond to negative reviews. And while you definitely need to be doing that, you also shouldn’t overlook your positive reviews! If someone has taken the time to publicly let everyone know how great your business is, take a minute to thank them for their kind words.
Here are some sample responses for positive reviews:
- We’re so happy to hear you enjoyed your experience. Thank you so much for sharing!
- Customers like you are why we love what we do. Thank you for your review!
- Thank you for the 5-star review! We hope to serve you again soon!
15 customer appreciation quotes to live by
Looking for a little inspiration? Here are some customer appreciation quotes to get you excited about the ideas above.
“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.” – Ralph Marston
“If you give appreciation to people, you win their goodwill.” – William James
“There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.” – Shep Hyken
“Thank your customer for complaining and mean it. Most will never bother to complain. They’ll just walk away.” – Marilyn Suttle
“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell
“Make the customer the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley
“Every company’s greatest assets are its customers because without customers there is no company.” – Michael LeBeouf
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
“Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.” – Sally Gronow
“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, you must improve.” – Horst Schulz
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” – Roy H. Williams
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc
“The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson
“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.” – Jim Rohn
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
Make your customers feel appreciated every day
Thank you, again, for spending this time with us!
By using these customer appreciation ideas, you can build lasting relationships with your customers, stand out from the other businesses in your market, and improve your reputation. Here are those 25 customer appreciation ideas to try:
- Write a thank you note
- Send thank you discounts and specials
- Recognize a customer of the month
- Launch a customer loyalty program
- Shout them out on social media
- Offer future-use coupons
- Give them a free product or service
- Run a giveaway or contest for current customers
- Host a customer party or open house
- Sponsor community events or organizations
- Give back in their honor
- Promote your customers’ businesses and interests
- Surprise and delight your customers
- Send a birthday card or email
- Give away some swag
- Host customer gatherings
- Extend store hours
- Make a thank you video
- Create a referral program
- Collect and implement customer feedback
- Let customers sample new products or provide feedback on new services
- Relax the red tape (when you can)
- Provide drinks and snacks in-store
- Include small freebies with every purchase
- Respond to all your reviews—including the positive ones!