Do you ever give your customers a standing applause and cheering? I mean a real flag waving festive event?
Do you make a fuss over them? Do you go over the top in showing that you see them as the royalty of your business?
Or do you think it is just enough to give them a gift or a giveaway or even have your invoices with end “Thank You”?
Surprisingly, it is not enough, because simply, everyone needs to feel valued, so do customers. They want to be noticed and acknowledged as people, not just as accounts.
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Therefore, what we mean here by customer celebration is paying attention to them; caring, thinking, dreaming and wondering enough about what they need, what they want, what challenges them, and what makes them feel special. And the most important thing is to realize and always remember that when it comes to customer appreciation, sincerity beats gimmicks.
So, if you have fallen into this trap, it’s time to reverse your engines.
Reverse your engines and start celebrating your customer properly
The question here is how to reverse the engine and really appreciate and celebrate your customers.
You don’t need a holiday or special event to celebrate customers. Just put your customers and community in the spotlight and give your audience and community their moment of fame to make them feel special. There are many ideas that would help you celebrate your customers that we can go through
1. Highlight customers on your social media accounts, blogs, or website
Just like when the knitting designer, Stephen West, took a picture of knitters wearing his designs on his Instagram account. Such action gives your customers a pure moment of fame and happiness, which subsequently, builds their sense of belonging towards your brand.
2. Add a “Community Member of the Week\Month” feature to your social accounts.
By doing this frequently, it will turn into a ritual that keeps your audiences alert and always excited to engage with your social accounts. The choice could be based on specific conditions or just a random choice.
The shout out itself could have many forms, for example, give them some social media love: If you love us, if you are loyal to our brand then you deserve a shout of love to say that we love you back, and we are thankful for you being part of our family.
Give them something meaningful: When you choose a member because of a meaningful reason, in order to send a meaningful message. This should be based on your customers’ insights, and it could be a simple thank you\bravo message for a charitable effort or a recent achievement such as winning a sports competition or finishing a Master’s degree.
3. UGC: Celebrate them by using their content for a campaign or as part of a movement
A remarkable example of that is what Outdoorvoices, an active sportswear brand that turned into a movement for recreation and having fun, does on their Instagram account. They use a lot of user generated content (UGC) to promote their hashtag #DoingThings. Fans send their videos\pictures doing anything fun that they love while wearing the brand’s sportswear even if what they do is playing with their pet!
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The usage of UGC, with a mix of brand ambassadorships, has helped the brand grow to impressive heights in a short amount of time and encourage brand loyalty over other athletic brands such as Nike.
4. Allow them to take over one of your social accounts
One the most effective campaigns that used such a gesture of appreciation and trust was Sweden’s original official Twitter account, @Sweden that started in December 2011 under the name of the “Curators of Sweden.”
Every week, a new person took over to be “Sweden” on Twitter. For seven days, each curator tweeted about life in Sweden, love or work, sharing opinions and ideas along the way. Then, someone else would take over and do the same.
The main aim of this campaign was to increase awareness of and tourists’ interest in Sweden, but also to manifest in practice the values of democracy and openness that Sweden stands for. Eventually, Curators of Sweden became one of Sweden’s most awarded communications activities and it has been praised all over the world for its openness and the courage to hand over the control of an official account in this way.
By the end of this campaign, 356 curators have tweeted as @Sweden.
Saturday and pizza time.
And of course I eat a kebabpizza, probably one of the most swedish dishes there is.
But what’s the story behind swedish pizza? pic.twitter.com/nxqtOPOz4C
— @sweden (@sweden) September 29, 2018
But that’s not what Jan-Öjvind Swahn was most famous for.
He was also famous for his funny glasses. pic.twitter.com/7cc8f5QEtH
— @sweden (@sweden) September 28, 2018
5. Get up close and personal with your customer appreciation efforts
Rather than sending standard customer appreciation giveaways, think about customizing your gifts. You can use insights you gain from your interactions with loyal customers to personalize your gestures of appreciation.
So, if you know that your customer has small children, sending a children’s gift is a thoughtful gesture. If your customers are young adults or teenagers, then a ticket to a concert of their favorite band will fly them over the moon. If you have female customers who are interested in fashion, sending them makeup or shopping vouchers would be a really good choice. Also, books are also gifts that are easy to personalize once you know a customer’s particular interests.
A great example for personalizing customer celebration is what SoFi, a finance company that offers different services such as students’ loans, personal and home loans, did with Candice, a SoFi member who had recently paid off her student debt.
SoFi celebrated Candice with an epic surprise which was a “debt graduation” ceremony with friends and family, alongside other unconventional surprises.
Joanne Bradford, chief marketing officer of SoFi, said that they understand their members consider the day they pay off their students’ loan as something to be proud of, and that’s why SoFi wanted to make such an achievement always remembered by their customer by celebrating them in their own way.
“I’ve never had any company treat me like a rock star,” said Candice. “I hoped for a SoFi sweatshirt and instead got the most epic surprise.”
Why is celebrating customers important?
Celebrating customers can provide an exceptional experience to your customers which will help keep them satisfied, inspired and connected to your company all year long. And by showing appreciation for members of your community, you are triggering their sense of needing to repay the obligation to you. As a result, you guarantee customer retention.
Besides that, such appreciation encourages customer word of mouth experiences; as with a smartphone in hand, everyone has the ability and the power to talk and give reviews about your brand. Therefore, celebrating customers not only creates interesting shareable content but it also creates a form of help from your community in persuading new participants and prospects.
One the most significant results from celebrating customers is that it helps in building customer trust, which is a great and important deal; as according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2019, consumer trust remains low. Only 56% of the general public trust business while 47% of them distrust media.
In a nut shell, we can say that, celebrating customers enhances building trust, engagement and a true sense of partnership with those who are most important to your business success. Always remember that, there is no right or wrong way in showing your appreciation to your customers as long as they see and value the gesture.