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In addition to your employees, your customers are key to the success of your business. While you often show your employees appreciation for the positive impact they have on your business, you need to do the same for your customers. If your customers don’t feel appreciated, they will more often than not leave your business. In fact, 68 percent of customers leave because they don’t feel like the business cares about them.

That being said, you need to keep your customers happy and they will keep your business happy. You want them to know you care about them, are valued and appreciated. When you take care of your customers, you take care of your business. The easiest way to put this into practice is applying a customer appreciation strategy, which can become one of the most important achievements of your company.

In this post, we outline what a customer appreciation strategy is and how you can put it into practice.

What is a customer appreciation strategy?

A customer appreciation strategy is a type of external corporate communication strategy adopted by companies to award its loyal customers. These are mostly aimed at communicating with existing customers. Customer appreciation strategy influences customer loyalty and advocacy, which in turn leads to customer retention and increased sales. By focusing on a customer appreciation strategy as a part of your overall external communication strategy you are investing in personal connection for your company.

Why does your business need a customer appreciation strategy?

How your customers feel about you and their willingness to do business with you are closely intertwined. To your customers, it’s all about them. If they feel valued and treated with care, they are likely to become more loyal and stay with you for the long run.

Customer appreciation is really a measure of your company’s efforts towards its customers. It reflects a proactive approach in engaging with customers that can make a real difference in your company. And showing how grateful you are to a customer is the foundation for a successful customer appreciation strategy facilitating personal connection.

Business benefits of a customer appreciation strategy

Developing a customer appreciation strategy for your day-to-day operations is a key factor in the success of your business. A few benefits that your business may receive are:

  • Increased value in the market. Companies who have more satisfied customers tend to get better reviews and feedback than those who don’t. This is what can give your company a true competitive advantage.
  • Increased customer loyalty. Loyal customers are loyal to your products and services. These customers would never dream of doing business with another vendor because they know you have their back.
  • Increased profits. According to statistics, its six to seven times cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to get a new one. That said, customer profitability tends to increase over the life of a retained customer.

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How to get started with a customer appreciation strategy

The first thing you want to consider when creating a customer appreciation strategy is to manage your customer information. Make sure you have a well-maintained centralized customer database and you will be able to track and moderate all interactions you have with your customers and identify their behavior.

There are a few ways to show your customers how much you appreciate them.

1. Contact your customers regularly to create personal connection

Customer loyalty is not about what your customers  buy from you the first time, but what keeps them coming back. You not only need to be a vendor to your customers but a partner. By becoming a partner, you create personal connection and show them you appreciate their choice to do business with you.

For example, if you are in business to business sales, contact your customers anytime they are featured in an article or achieved some success in their company. Providing good after-sales communication is the key to showing your customers that you want to build a long-term relationship and earn their loyalty.

The best thing to do though is to truly be friends with your clients. When you genuinely enjoy spending time together and you put in the effort to develop a relationship with them based on common interests outside of work, you win both personally and professionally. Relationships and personal connection is everything in life.

2. Promote and communicate your customers’ stories

As a business, you might be spending a lot of time promoting yourself. Put that promotion to good use to build loyalty and inspire positive behavior from your customers by promoting them. By doing this, you will show them they are more than a vendor, but a partner. And your customers will be grateful to you for noticing their efforts.

If you have a website, include your customer profiles that show how your clients are benefitting from a product or solution you are providing. The best way to do this is through customer success stories. In fact, 36 percent of B2B tech buyers look for customer success stories when evaluating new technologies.

3. Make your customers VIPs

Making your customers feel special can pay off with customer satisfaction and increased loyalty. Most of all, it makes them feel important as if they are a VIP. Bring in elements of personal connection into your marketing collateral. This is one of the best ways to improve customer lifetime value.

An example of this is sending a personal message via email or a postcard thanking them for supporting your business. This should be followed by including an exclusive invitation to an event, promotion, meal or happy hour.

By creating a proactive customer appreciation strategy as part of your external communication efforts, you can show your customers just how much you care about them. As a result, your customers will be likely to come back to your company time and time again and increase their retention over their lifetime.

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