How and Why to Throw a Customer Appreciation Party
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so why not throw your customers an appreciation party? Customer appreciation parties come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them have significant benefits for your organization—far in excess of what you’ll spend throwing one. They could be elaborate as a gala or simple as a get-together, but all of them carry value—if you know how to throw one successfully.
The Benefits of Customer Appreciation Parties
It’s true, you’ll probably spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a customer appreciation event, and several hours just on planning, but it’s worth it to see the following benefits:
- Employee morale. Don’t forget that your employees will also be invited to the customer appreciation party. This is a chance for them to mingle with one another and their clients in an informal setting, and enjoy some free food and drinks. If morale has been low lately, a customer appreciation event could turn it around—just be careful not to make the event too formal or stress-inducing for your workers.
- Customer loyalty. One of the most obvious benefits of a customer appreciation party is its influence over customer loyalty. Though not guaranteed, most customers who notice how appreciated they are with your company will be more likely to stick around for the foreseeable future. If they’re on the fence about switching to one of your competitors, your kick-ass customer appreciation parties might be the tiebreaker that keeps them around.
- Networking. Even though you probably know most of your clients, your customer appreciation party can double as a networking event. You’ll get the opportunity to meet some people you’ve never met before, and your employees will get a chance to see all your clients in person. You may also attract more attendees because they see it as a networking opportunity for themselves; imagine the possibility that two of your clients work together to form a partnership—and have you to thank for the opportunity!
- Attracting new customers. Customer appreciation parties get billed as an opportunity to thank your existing customers for what they’ve already done, but they’re also a chance to attract more people to your network of clients. If your existing clients bring new people to your office, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to talk about your business. Plus, word will spread about how well you treat your customers, and you might get some referrals and new deals out of that good press alone.
- Customer relationships. Finally, a good customer appreciation party allows you to forge stronger, more personal relationships with your clients. You’ll understand them better, including their needs, their goals, and how they like to operate—and that means you can serve them even better in the future.
How to Throw an Effective Party
Those benefits are nice, but they’ll only take effect if you can throw an appreciation party that leaves a positive impression. So how can you throw an effective party for your best customers?
- Set a date early. Your customers are busy people, and probably have schedules that fill up quickly. If you want to maximize your turnout, set a date as far in advance as possible.
- Offer plus-ones. Offering plus-ones to your guests will increase your costs, and may impose stricter limits on which customers you can invite, but it’s worth it. Plus-ones serve a number of functions; they give your customers flexibility to invite colleagues or loved ones, they add more new faces so you can capitalize on the networking aspect, and they give you the opportunity to get to know your clients better.
- Customize your party decorations. A good appreciation party should have your brand on display, calling attention to your business and making the event unique. It’s relatively easy to customize your party decorations online, so it shouldn’t cost you much extra time or money.
- Offer food and entertainment. Food and drink should go without saying; this is where the appreciation comes in. You’ll also want to provide some kind of entertainment, whether it’s a pool tournament, an interactive game, or just good music playing in the background.
- Have multiple representatives on the floor. Hosting the party is going to demand much of your attention, but you’ll need to make sure your customers are all attended to throughout the night. For that reason, you’ll need multiple people representing your company (such as your employees) on the floor, interacting with customers regularly.
Customer appreciation parties don’t need to be extravagant or take a week of work to plan; anything you do for your customers will likely be beneficial. They’re the ones providing your revenue, so the happier you keep them, the better.