10 Fun Ideas for Customer Appreciation Day


Party backgrounds with colorful confetti, streamers and gift box.

We explore ten fun ways to help you to celebrate Customer Appreciation Day, after a quick overview of the special occasion.

What Is Customer Appreciation Day?

Customer Appreciation Day is an event that some organisations choose to create as an excuse to shower their customers with appreciation and nice gestures.

Then, you treat the day as if it’s an annual holiday and celebrate it with your customers every year – as a designated day to express your gratitude.

On this day, it is also good to celebrate the “festivities” with your team in the contact centre, so they are sure to be in good spirits while handling customer contacts.

When Is Customer Appreciation Day?

While there is no official day for Customer Appreciation Day, we have noticed that a few companies have chosen the third Friday in May to hold their celebrations.

So, in 2019 Customer Appreciation Day will be held on Friday the 17th of May. The dates for the next five years after that are highlighted in the table below.

Year Customer Appreciation Day
2019 Friday the 17th of May 2019
2020 Friday the 15th of May 2020
2021 Friday the 21st of May 2021
2022 Friday the 20th of May 2022
2023 Friday the 19th of May 2023
2024 Friday the 17th of May 2024

It is usually held on the Friday because contact volumes in the contact centres are generally lower than earlier in the week.

Also, May tends to a month when everyone’s excited for the summer, so it’s good to bring that “feel-good factor” into your celebrations.

However, remember that this is not an official date. A Customer Appreciation Day can be held on any other day of the year – if that better suits your organisation.

All sounds good so far, right? But what sorts of things can you do to ensure that your customers get into the “spirit” of your Customer Appreciation Day?

The 10 Fun Ideas

Each good idea for Customer Appreciation Day should involve imagination, care and creativity, be it through a small gift basket, gift cards, or a customer loyalty credit on goods and services, etc.

Dave Salisbury

This is according to Dave Salisbury, an operations and customer relations specialist, who says: “Regardless of what you do, allow true feelings of gratitude to be expressed. Anything less and the programme is just another brick in the wall.”

“Personalise the potential gift for that customer as a way to go over the top and show real appreciation for the customer.”

With this advice in mind, let’s take a look at ten fun, personalised ideas that will help to make your Customer Appreciation Day a success.

1. Provide a Surprise Upgrade

To thank existing customers, catch them unaware with an upgrade and make it easy for them to claim it.

This is a good tactic to capture the power of surprise and create big peaks in positive customer emotion.

To do this, create a list of your most loyal customers, target customers who are active on social media (who may share their positive experience) or simply pick customers at random.

Whichever way you do it, this strategy can work really well if you’re a subscription-based business, an airline or an entertainment provider.

An Emirates passenger particularly enjoyed his first-class upgrade on a recent flight.

An Emirates passenger particularly enjoyed his first-class upgrade on a recent flight.

Just make sure that you don’t continue to charge for the upgraded service after the customer’s special subscription is over. This may only cause customer frustration later on.

Another key benefit of doing this is that it gives your customers an opportunity to engage with your more expensive offerings, which may generate more revenue over time.

2. Invite Customers to Special Events

On the theme of creating opportunities for customers to interact with your products while showing them your gratitude, inviting enthusiastic customers to a special event on Customer Appreciation Day can be an exciting idea.

Take John Lewis as an example, a company which invited some of its customers to have a sleepover in some of its UK stores – taking the “try before you buy” slogan to a whole new level.

Then there are companies which look to create bizarre experiences that really enable them to stand out from the crowd. Just take a look below at how LinkedIn promoted its conference by turning the Hilton hotel in London into an Ice Cave.

As an alternative to inviting individual customers to special events, you can arrange pop-up events throughout Customer Appreciation Day and advertise them on social media.

For example, IKEA launched a series of pop-up restaurants in 2016, while more recently, Cartoon Network’s television show Rick and Morty had a travelling pop-up giveaway “Rickmobile”, which gave away exclusive merchandise.

3. Showcase Customer Stories on Your Social Media

A nice idea to help fill your social channels with positivity on Customer Appreciation Day is to share short, enlightening customer stories that will strengthen that customer’s connection to your business.

Talk to your contact centre advisors and ask if they’ve recently heard any heart-warming stories from customers and look for particularly good examples of positive customer feedback.

Then, talk to the advisor and create a short summary of the customer’s story and get in touch with the customer – to check that they’re happy for you to “release their story”.

If possible, then try to set up a quick meeting with the customer and take a photograph with them – to make your message more visually striking.

Just look at the photo below as an example of how you can use a #customerstory to create a positive online impression amongst your followers.

Check out this customer story that was tweeted by the photo printing company Fracture.

Check out this customer story that was tweeted by the photo printing company Fracture.

If you can add a link in your post to the entire customer story on your website, you will also be able to further increase the customer’s sense of value.

4. Create Opportunities for Customers to Win Prizes

McDonald’s has Monopoly, SkyBet has Super Six and Google has Doodle4Google – each designed to get customers competing with one another to win major prizes.

Free giveaways can be great, but you appreciate something more when you feel you have earned it, and Customer Appreciation day is all about creating emotional connections with customers.

So, “winning” is a key element. But what sorts of customer competitions would best suit you?

You could try a “#doityourway” competition, where customers get to take photos of themselves using your product, with the most creative entry winning a prize. Perhaps your followers can decide on the winner – i.e. whoever gets the most likes.

Other ideas include running video contests, online scavenger hunts (i.e. take the Pokémon Go route) and trivia contents where whoever offers the right answer first wins.

Take a look at the contest Domino’s Pizza once ran between its customers!

Take a look at the contest Domino’s Pizza once ran between its customers!

The drawback to these games is that it can be tricky to decipher between who’s a customer and who’s just a follower.

Either way, if these competitions take off, customers/followers end up doing your marketing for you!

5. Use Social Listening to Make Your Customers Smile

When customers tag us in social media posts, they’re not just trying to be nice, they want our attention.

So, on Customer Appreciation Day make sure you put more people on social and respond to everyone – sharing/retweeting/commenting on positive mentions to “spread the joy”.

One idea that Suja Juice – the organic, cold-pressed juice company – had was to use social listening to find people who had used hashtags such as #sick, #mondayblues and #hungover. They then reached out to them offering free that-day delivery of nutritious juice. Fun and inventive.

Alternatively, you can always add humour to your social conversations, as long as it fits your brand. Just look at the viral tweet below, courtesy of the Pizza Hut social team.

Pizza Hut had an amusing back-and-forth with Leeds United on Twitter.

Pizza Hut had an amusing back-and-forth with Leeds United on Twitter.

While we’re not suggesting engaging in such an opinionated “discussion”, using memes, GIFs and witty jokes that fit your brand will definitely help to make your customers smile over the course of your Customer Appreciation Day.

6. Donate to Charities Customers Care About

Some organisations will make a donation to a charity in a valued customer’s name, to support important causes and make a nice gesture. However, by doing so, these organisations are missing out on an opportunity to better connect with customers.

Take a look at American Airlines amazing donation to the GarySiniseFoundation - which is totally on brand!

Take a look at American Airlines’ amazing donation to the GarySiniseFoundation – which is totally on brand!

It is instead better to reach out to customers and ask them which charities they would like to support, as they may have a particular charity that means a great deal to them.

If supporting your organisation can mean supporting a charitable organisation with which the customer has a special bond, an emotional connection may begin to form – especially if you then send a personalised email with proof of the donation.

An alternative strategy could be to run a poll on social media and crowdsource a charity to send a “lump-sum”, giving a smaller amount to the other charities. This will ensure everyone gets something, while you pay more to the charity that the majority of your customers value most!

7. Pay Their Bill

Discounting a customer’s bill or maybe even just taking off 10% of the overall charge is a great way to say thank you to customers for their business on Customer Appreciation Day.

The thing here is to avoid doing this for everyone, otherwise all of your customers will start phoning the contact centre with the expectation of getting a special deal.

Maybe each advisor could get a “star caller” to whom they can offer a discount. This enables the advisor to pass on good news that will hopefully make them feel happy, which adds to the joy of the event.

So, maybe each advisor could get a “star caller” to whom they can offer a discount. This enables the advisor to pass on good news that will hopefully make them feel happy, which adds to the joy of the event.

An alternative strategy would be to send customers special discount codes – shared via SMS and completely unique – so that they can only be used by specially selected customers.

8. Get Creative With Your Giveaways

Anticipation is a great emotion to a engage customers with your brand, so it can be good to offer “anticipated” giveaways, which will still surprise the customer if they win.

As an example, you can offer scheduled giveaways where you promote that you’ll be releasing a question or a “call to action” at a certain time and then the first five or ten customers to respond correctly win a prize.

With this idea, you can also create a sense of urgency, which can be really good if you’re giving away a new product – to build excitement up to its launch.

You can also use social media platforms like Facebook Live to share the “real-life” excitement with customers when giving away prizes for Customer Appreciation Day. For example, just look at how Downtown Radio gave away tickets for “Planet Fun” over the platform.

 

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Posted by Downtown Radio on Monday, 17 September 2018

Just remember to keep your prizes “on-brand”. You know existing customers have an interest in your business, so they’ll likely value a relevant prize as opposed to a generic giveaway.

9. Reward With Experiences

Customer Appreciation Day is all about creating memorable moments that strengthen customer loyalty, and we tend to reflect more fondly upon experiences rather than gifts.

So, if we can reward customers with experiences as opposed to gifts, we provide them with opportunities to create positive memories that will forever be associated with our brand.

This can be great, but when it comes to rewarding with experiences, we need to ensure that the experience matches the customer’s interests. For example, a stereotypical rugby fan may not be overjoyed at the prospect of winning tickets to the opera.

So, to avoid awkward scenarios like these, think about whether you can somehow provide the customer with options.

O2, one of the pioneers of rewarding through experiences, offer prize draws, so its customers can choose the prize that best suits them, as shown below.

Here an example of how O2 use prize draws to reward customers with exciting experiences.

Here an example of how O2 use prize draws to reward customers with exciting experiences.

So, running prizes draws like this can be a fun addition to Customer Appreciation Day and – alongside experiences – you may want to consider offering special-edition products, to provide the customer with something special. This can be a great idea if you have a “trendy” brand.

10. Film and Share Your Appreciation

A nice addition to your social channels on Customer Appreciation Day is to share a video that includes a number of employees sharing their favourite interactions with customers.

In this, you can include great customer feedback and “name drop” people to give them personalised recognition – while the video also helps to project the more human side of your brand.

Other good features for the video might be to share with customers how their feedback has inspired positive changes in the way you work and, of course, a big thank you!

As a great example of how to do this well, below is a video that subscription cosmetics company Birchbox created for their Customer Appreciation Day back in 2015.

The video proved a hit on the company’s YouTube channel, attaining well over 15,000 views.

How to Bring Customer Appreciation Day Into the Contact Centre

By using some of the ideas above for your Customer Appreciation Day, you will hopefully create a real buzz amongst your customer base.

The unfortunate side effect is that this buzz will likely equate to an increase in contact volumes, so you’ll have to bring in more advisors.

But you don’t want overworked, grumpy advisors handling contacts from customers on Customer Appreciation Day, do you?

So, make sure you spread the fun across your workforce too, perhaps in these three areas: fun, food and drink.

Make sure you spread the fun across your workforce too, perhaps in these three areas: fun, food and drink.

Fun may involve gamification, including special motivational games like contact centre bingo, the wheel of wow and cell wars. But try to let advisors have a say in which games to play, so they are more invested in what they are playing for.

Then, in terms of food and drink, perhaps plan a special lunch for the team with special mocktails as nice gesture  – with advisors again being the drivers behind these activities.

It’s like Richard Branson’s infamous quote: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers”. This quote never has more significance than on Customer Appreciation Day.

For more ideas for games like those above, read our article: Motivational Games for Call Centres

In Summary

Customer Appreciation Day is a day which you dedicate solely to thanking your customers for doing business with you. Some organisations even set aside a Customer Appreciation Week for this.

The key is to run a series of activities throughout the day that will help you to really engage your customer base, secure loyalty and show your gratitude.

So, we want to offer gifts that show imagination, creativity and care. If we also personalise these gestures of appreciation, we can go one step further.

Of course, there are the obvious things to do, including gift baskets and handwritten thank-you cards, but what are the more innovative and fun things to do?

In this article we have suggested planning special events, creating customer competitions and sharing customer stories, as well as presenting many other ideas for you to try.

But, just as a final point, remember to bring the spirit of the event into the contact centre, keeping advisors in high spirits with, fun, food and drink!

For more ideas for increasing customer engagement with your brand, read our articles:

Published On: 15th May 2019
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