Customer service is about the ability to understand and share another person's feelings. Empathy makes it easy for businesses to relate with their customers effectively; methods that will enhance customer retention and attract new ones.

Businesses often focus their marketing efforts on customer acquisition without realising that retention is also crucial.

One of the best ways of engaging and retaining customers is by appreciating them. Appreciating your customers enhances their experience, and customers who have a better experience with a company are more likely to make purchases, recommend the business and even forgive mistakes.

These are 10 customer appreciation ideas for your business

  1. Always send a welcome message
    When a customer completes a purchase journey, it is important as a business always to welcome them. Some experts even recommend sending welcome messages at the first interaction point before purchase. That is how vital this idea is.
  2. Send 'thank you' messages
    Your customers have a dime a dozen competing businesses to choose from, but they chose you, which needs to be appreciated. Sending 'thank you' messages shows that you value your relationship. You can also use the opportunity to inform them of your other products and services and also provide a discount code for their next purchase.
  3. Regular communication
    People often say 'out of sight, out of mind', so don't let your customers forget about you even when they are not doing business. Reach out to them on their birthdays, anniversaries or any important milestones in their lives. You can also communicate with them about how they are using your products and update them on new product offerings.
  4. Personalise the messages
    Sending messages is an excellent idea, but many businesses do it to little or no effect. These businesses can get better with a trick; personalised messages. Personalise your messages to customers to foster a personal connection to your brand. Make your marketing efforts and messages stand out by plugging in customers' names in the subject line and introduction. A 2017 Yes Lifecycle Marketing report revealed that personalisation triggers open rates by 50%.
  5. Develop a loyalty program
    Do not take customers for granted; businesses have to reward loyal customers with appreciative programs. Loyalty programs are fantastic ways to reward customers while attracting newcomers to your business. A loyalty program can be as simple as offering a discount on subsequent purchases or a free item attached to new purchases.
  6. Host customer events
    Bringing your customers together is a fun way to reward them. During these events, you can host giveaways and offer branded items. Events like this can help businesses generate press mentions and promotions on social media. Producers of fast-moving consumer goods often host events like this in Nigeria.
  7. Acknowledgement on social media
    Attention is the currency on social media, and giving it to customers can be a way to appreciate them. Resharing media of customers using your products is an excellent way to acknowledge them.
  8. Develop a customer appreciation strategy
    Appreciating your customers shouldn't be an afterthought; it should take planning with your marketing and customer service teams. You can start by drawing up a list of all your customers, breaking them down into personas, location, age, or other relevant groupings. Segmenting them like that will help you identify the best appreciation strategy.
  9. Listen to customers
    As Bill Gates said in one of his books; 'Business @ the Speed of Thought', "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." Getting feedback from customers is very crucial to how you run your business. So you must listen to them and take their feedback to heart. Make it easy for customers to reach out to you and listen to them. Also, make sure you implement suggestions that make sense as soon as possible. You can get customer feedback through surveys, focus groups, social media etc.
  10. CSR causes
    Investing in CSR causes dear to your customers is a way to appreciate them. Is it by championing women's rights, protecting the environment, developing programs to alleviate poverty, or giving to charities? Seek insights into causes your customers are emotionally attached to and invest in them. Let them know they are the stakeholders with the most significant influence on your CSR strategies and they will feel appreciated.