Customer Appreciation 101: Ideas, Gifts, & More for Driving Customer Loyalty

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Swetha Amaresan
Swetha Amaresan



Do you love your customers?

customer appreciate: two people shaking hands

If you said yes, how do you show them? (If you said no, then you desperately need this post.)

If you answered with something along the lines of, "By providing them with stellar service," then I'm going to give you a hard reality check: That's not enough.

Think about it like this: Your customers have put their trust in you and are paying your business good money because of it. The least you can do is show them how much you appreciate them.

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In this post, we'll explain everything you need to know about customer appreciation, including why it's important, what it looks like, and how you can master it at your business.

But, if you're in a bit of a time crunch, use the links below to find exactly what you're looking for.

Why Is Customer Appreciation Important?

You might be wondering how come great service isn't enough. It's because great service is expected nowadays.

Enter customer appreciation.

Customer appreciation is more than being extra nice to your customers; 68% of consumers will not buy from companies that do not care about them. Customers value their experience while consuming. Having a great customer appreciation strategy will increase your ROI and customer retention rates.

Customer appreciation has grown from sending ‘Thank You’ emails to loyalty programs, discounts, and exclusive perks. Over 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a company if it has a good loyalty program that they feel caters to their experience. Customer appreciation is important in encouraging the customer to keep consuming.

Customer Appreciation Day

Technically, National Customer Appreciation Day is April 18th, but you are in control of this day. Choose a date (or week) during which your company is especially dedicated to customer appreciation. You can also celebrate it in small ways throughout the year, or target it towards customers on their birthdays.

The important part about creating a specific customer appreciation day is to make the day known to your customers. Advertise it in advance and make your customers feel part of the entire process. The point is to show them that you appreciate their loyalty to your company and that it doesn't go unnoticed.

1. Write thank you cards.

A simple way to show your appreciation of your customers is by writing personal thank you letters. It's a touching way to convey to your customer exactly how much they mean to your company and how much they've helped you grow.

Don’t turn a thank you card into your latest sales pitch. Instead, take the opportunity to make it all about the customer, and not your company.

2. Send out coupons or gift cards.

For a customer appreciation option that could go hand-in-hand with a thank you card, consider mailing your customers coupons, gift cards, or discounts on products and services. Offering a discount or gift cards shows the level of commitment you have to your customers.

3. Do spotlights on some of your customers.

Why not brag to the world about how great your customers are? It could be a fun idea for you to create spotlights on some of your customers to be posted on your website, blog, LinkedIn profile, or other social media pages.

Send out an email encouraging customers to submit their story and a photo for the spotlight, and then post them a few times a week. Not only does that give you interesting content for your digital channels, but it also shows your customers that you are proud to have them and hear their experiences.

4. Launch a customer loyalty program.

One of the most effective ways to show customers that you care is with a customer loyalty program. The average repeat customer spends 67% more in month 31-36 than they spend in month 0-6. Having a loyalty program is a great way to keep your clients loyal and to keep them coming back by having different perks and special offers by being in your loyalty program.

5. Provide an upgrade.

If you're running a SaaS or subscription-based business, one way to show customers you care is to provide them with a free upgrade. For example, if you have customers who are using outdated tools, upgrade them to your updated versions and let them try your newest features. Even if it's just a trial, this shows customers that you value them and helps with your ROI.

6. Distribute your company's swag.

Everybody loves swag. Free hats, shirts, bottles, and even buttons are enough to get customers excited and to keep your company relevant amongst your customers.

Most customers remember brands that give them a promotional product. And people are twice as likely to have a positive impression of this form of advertising as compared to internet ads. So, not only does swag make your brand more memorable, but it also makes your customers happier, too.

8. Release pre-sale notifications.

While you want to appease your entire customer base, you should prioritize your most loyal users first. Since these customers shop the most frequently and spend the most money with your business, you want to make sure they're satisfied with their treatment.

One way to show them extra attention is to release pre-sale notifications through your email newsletter. This provides an incentive for other customers to join your mailing list and also goes an extra mile for the loyal clients you already have.

9. Send personalized gifts.

While free swag is always a great gift, adding personal touches to show appreciation to your clients can make sure they stay loyal to your company. It also shows them that you take an interest in what they like and do outside of your company.

Virtual Client Appreciation Events

Client appreciation can be any day of the year, not just April 18th. Virtual client appreciation events allow you to truly engage your clients no matter where they are in the world. Below, we’ve listed virtual events that will make any client feel appreciated.

1. Host a virtual performance party.

Virtual performances are a great way to show appreciation through music, comedy, or an online watch party for a film. The great part about these events is you don’t have to do the entertaining. Instead, you can show your appreciation by hiring a professional, and you’ll get to sit back and enjoy it, too!

2. Hire a professional for a virtual culinary class.

For a more hands-on client appreciation event, culinary experiences are the way to go. Try out a mixology course, cooking course, or chocolate tasting class where you can hire a professional to perform the class via Zoom. Just remember to have all the ingredients sent to the clients in advance.

3. Host a virtual game night.

Game night is another way to have a more hands-on approach when showing your appreciation for your clients. Having a trivia night or a virtual game night is a great interactive way to engage your clients and continue to build relationships with them.

Virtual events don’t have to be boring; they can be fun and interactive without your clients feeling like you’re trying to sell to them or pitch to them. Virtual events keep your clients engaged while building relationships for your company.

Client Appreciation Invitation

Creating customer appreciation events and ideas is all about the details and knowing your clientele. Once you have your customer appreciation day on your calendar, it’s time to start sending out invitations to your clients. For client appreciation invitations, you want to make sure the client knows what the event is for and that you’re offering them a special invite. Whether you are sending out an email or personally mailing them, these are the steps to mastering a client appreciation invitation. Typically, you’d send it over email, but if you want to send a card over post, you can do that, too.

1. What is your driving action?

The point of your invitation is to communicate information and trigger a specific action. For client appreciation invitations, you want your clients to know exactly why they are getting this email. Sell the client appreciation event or idea to your customer by knowing why you’re sending out the appreciation and what the appreciation is for and about.

2. Stay on brand.

The events you put on are an extension of your company. Thus, making sure your brand is represented accurately and consistently throughout the invitation is imperative. Remember you are not trying to pitch or sell anything to your customers, but you are engaging and interacting with them. When creating your invitations, be sure to express the values of your brand.

3. Keep it clean and simple.

Event invitations that are clean and simple will catch the attention of your clients. The invitation should be informative but not lengthy ... just enough to reel the clients in and get them excited for the event. Every invitation will need a clear subject, opening and closing line, and details about the event.

A catchy subject line will pull your clients in and encourage them to open your invitation. The details portion of the email is where you should place all information about the event, including the date and time, venue, dress code, items needed, or any links for the event. The closing line is just as important as the opening and should reiterate what the event is about. It should be personal and inviting, but still clear and simple to not over-muddle your invitation.

Customer Appreciation Gifts

Customer appreciation gifts can come in many forms. As we’ve stated, many companies show their appreciation in various ways and throughout various times of the year. From holiday gift boxes to free merchandise, from events to discount coupons, there is always a way to show appreciation to your clients.

Swag bags from companies are always fun. By swagging your customers in merchandise, you can market your company without having to pitch or sell to clients. Company merchandise can include stickers, water bottles, coffee mugs, clothing accessories, phone accessories, pens, notebooks, and so on.

Industry-specific gifts can include pens, notebooks, selfie sticks, food, chocolates, wine or champagne, tickets to events, gift cards, and discounts.

Personalized gifts can include flowers, wine glasses or champagne flutes, gift cards to other businesses, and more.

Client appreciation is more than giving gifts and throwing events. It is a chance to connect with your clients and show your loyalty to them as much as they show their loyalty to you.

Since we’ve covered the importance of client appreciation, events, and invitations, let’s delve into some examples that can inspire you when you’re appreciating your customers.

Examples of Customer Appreciation

Client appreciation can come in all forms. Below, we have listed some examples of companies that show how you can appreciate your customer any day of the week.

1. Honda

client appreciation: hondaImage Source

Honda has had some outstanding customers who have gone to great lengths to show their unwavering loyalty to the brand (like this customer who tattooed the Honda logo onto his forearm).

When Honda reached 1 million likes on Facebook, the brand decided to go all out in saying thanks by launching the #HondaLovesYouBack campaign, which is still in use today.

In this campaign, Honda takes photos of employees doing the same things for customers that customers have done for the brand. It shows customers that Honda genuinely sees them and appreciates how much they have given to the brand.

2. Pinterest Holiday Appreciation

client appreciation example: pinterest

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In this example, Pinterest combines the joy of gift-giving and the holiday season to show their appreciation for their clients. They sent out holiday care packages that had a box of sweet treats, a candle, and a personalized thank you card. This is a great way to appreciate your customers, while being intentional about keeping your customers happy in the holiday season.

3. EpicBar

client appreciation example: epicbar

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EpicBar is a meat-based protein bar and snacks company that did not wait for Client Appreciation Day, but showed their appreciation in a thoughtful and caring way. When one of their customers received one bad protein bar, they didn't just replace the bar, they sent out an entire package with six bars, a coupon, and a handwritten note. Even though this wasn’t a campaign, this is a great way to show your appreciation any day of the week. Turning bad experiences to good ones will ensure that customers can rely on your company and that their voices are not only heard but valued.

Any client appreciation gift will be valued, but if you’re not convinced why customer appreciation is important, check out the following quotes on customer appreciation.

Customer appreciation goes a long way in keeping your company in business. With the right customer appreciation strategy, you can increase your ROI, generate more sales, and get more loyal customers. Offer gifts, sympathy, and recognition to your customers, and your company will grow exponentially.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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