Do you incorporate a dedicated customer appreciation program into your marketing strategy? Are you getting the results you want? If not, your customer appreciation strategy might not be up to par. Here’s why your customer appreciation strategy stinks – and how to fix it.

You’re focused on upsells and cross-sells

You might think offering customers an upgrade or an add-on item at a discounted price qualifies as a customer appreciation strategy, but it’s really an upsell or cross-sell. That’s not a customer-centric strategy; it’s a sales strategy.

How to fix it: Express appreciation for your best customers by offering a free upgrade or add-on. Don’t make it a public promotion; instead, simply throw it in at the time of purchase. This seemingly spontaneous act of appreciation will keep customers coming back and telling their friends about your business.

It’s too much work

Loyalty/rewards cards can be excellent ways to show customer appreciation. When customers make a certain number of purchases, they get a freebie. It’s a good way to reward repeat business. However, if customers have to jump through hoops to claim their rewards your program will have lackluster results.

How to fix it: Make it super simple for customers to claim their rewards. Stamp their cards when they make purchases, and make the completed cards redeemable with no additional steps: no forms to fill out, photos to share, or waiting in long lines.

You’re disingenuous

Mass mailings and other promotions can seem to marketing-heavy to qualify as customer appreciation campaigns, and they might not earn the response you’re after.

How to fix it: Add a personalized touch to your customer appreciation strategy. Send a greeting card with a handwritten note, or jot a letter of appreciation on company letterhead. It’s OK to print custom customer appreciation greeting cards and postcards, but be sure to personalize your communications to make them more meaningful.

It’s disappointing

Don’t promise a special customer appreciation incentive and fail to follow through with something meaningful. A free pen with your company name on it isn’t exactly impressive.

How to fix it: You don’t have to give away the farm to make your customer appreciation efforts meaningful. As-stated, you can reach out with personalized communications or offer free upgrades. You can also give away something your customers will use and appreciation – desktop calendars, for example, or stickers they’re likely to use. Or, toss a couple of event tickets in a greeting card and send them to your best customers. The point is you want your efforts to be noticed and your customers to be excited about the recognition.

You don’t recognize customers

If your customer appreciation efforts are only conducted in private, you’re missing an excellent opportunity to show the world how much you care about your customer base.

How to fix it: Showcase your best customers in your newsletters, email blasts, on your Facebook page, and on in-store literature: brochures, flyers, posters, etc. Use these platforms to publicly thank your best customers. You can also turn their stories into case studies that demonstrate how you were able to help them and reward them for their loyalty.

Customer appreciation isn’t rocket science, but you do have to take the time to develop a meaningful program customers will want to participate in. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to create a winning customer appreciation strategy!

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