Customer Appreciation

After returning from a recent “unofficial” customer appreciation lunch, provided by Trevor Hill, I begin thinking why my wife Jennifer, our friends, and I had such a great time.

Trevor owns one of the best watering holes in Knoxville, The Hill (Twitter: @TheHill_UT).  Instead of inviting a wide group of people, Trevor only told a small group of people and encouraged a couple of customers to create the menu and help cook the food.  It was a blast!  In fact, most of us spent more money than we normally would and all of us showed up on a day we would usually not be at The Hill.  It truly was a win-win for Trevor and his customers.

Working in marketing, I always hear people boast about Customer Appreciation Days, but they never have a strong plan as to how to make it successful.  In fact, I have a manager who constantly recommends that their office should do a Customer Appreciation Day.  Years  before we worked together, their location had a Customer Appreciation Day.  It was your typical event that included giveaways, a radio remote broadcast and, of course, free food.  The “feel good” atmosphere gave an emotional impression of success, but when I ask the manager to quantify the success, there is no answer.

Are Customer Appreciation Days beneficial?  If done correctly, absolutely.  But how?  Here are two tips.

Provide substance: Giveaways and food are expected, but what else can you provide?  If you know your customer, how about conducting a no cost seminar on how to plan for retirement?  Instead of inviting the public, make it a small, intimate event where you focus on an issue that your customers worry about and provide a solution.  If you are a bank, then have a luncheon where you have an IRA specialist speak to the group about retirement options.

Follow-Up: Get with your customers during and after the event.  Ask them what they found beneficial and how it can be improved.  The company I work for has a niche with local business owners, so a few months ago one of our locations sponsored a breakfast meeting with the area’s Chamber of Commerce.  After the event, we analyzed why it was a success.  We asked our team members and we checked with attendees.  We are now doing another event this week based on what was done correctly and improved upon what we learned.  Hopefully it will be an even bigger success than the first event!

There are several different ways to walk away from a win-win Customer Appreciation Day.  These are just two steps that will lead you to a great event.

A big thanks to Trevor and his team at The Hill for providing the idea for this post.

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About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

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