How to Host an Unforgettable Customer Appreciation Event

A well-executed customer appreciation event can turn existing customers into passionate advocates and bring in increased business through personal referrals. But without the right planning, your event can fall flat. Don’t let your event be a lame attempt at appreciation, or you’ll just end up wasting money and casting your brand in a bad light. Instead, make the most of your event by leveraging it as a true marketing effort. Here are 10 tips for hosting an unforgettable customer appreciation event:

Pick the Right Day/Time

Consider your typical customers and what would work best for their schedules. This will help you determine whether you should plan an event on a week day or weekend and what time it should be. If you want to attract a lot of families, you’ll most likely want to have your event mid-day on the weekend.

Involve Customers

Ask your most loyal customers what they want to see included at the event and then incorporate their suggestions where possible. Then be sure to invite these contributors in a way that makes them feel special to ensure that they’ll be in attendance. You can even extend additional perks to your most valuable customers by giving them special gifts for attending or extending certain perks to them like closer parking.

Get All Employees on Board

To represent your company effectively, you should encourage as many employees as possible to attend your event. They can staff various areas of your event and make themselves available in case customers have any questions. You don’t want to give the impression that your employees really don’t care about customers by having your event understaffed.

Make It Family-Friendly

Unless you’re planning an adults-only event, you should assume that families will be attending as well, which means you need to plan activities for kids. Give kids lots of choices to get them excited and keep them busy. You can also set up a play and eat area for kids to make them feel like there’s something special just for them. Parents are happy when their kids are happy, which means that catering to kids’ preferences will make your event stick in parents’ minds.

Provide Food

Providing food encourages people to stay longer at events and it also increases their satisfaction. Remember, if you’re offering kids activities, you should also provide kid-friendly food to make sure that they’ll have options that appeal to them. Great food is one way to make your event really memorable and keep people coming back for future events at your company in years to come.

Consider Accessibility Challenges

Be sure to have handicapped accessible portable restrooms and other adaptations for people with decreased mobility so that everyone can enjoy your event regardless of ability.

Advertise Locally

Get the word out about your event in the local community in a variety of mediums to maximize exposure. Advertise at your location to customers coming in, send out emails to subscribers, announce the event in the local newspaper and on the TV and radio. Cover all your bases to ensure a good turn out once you have the details figured out. Be sure to let the community know what to expect – touting food, entertainment, and the other exciting features you have planned.

Give Back

An appreciation event is an opportunity to give back to the people who have given you their business. It’s a good idea to hand out gifts and offer discounts on future purchases to show that you want to share some of what you have with the people who have helped your business succeed.

Follow Up with Attendees

After the event follow up with people who attended. Get email addresses and phone numbers of attendees so that you can sell to them again in the future. Without taking this step, your event will just be a fun party instead of a sound business investment.

Keep Track of Important Data

Get data that you’ll need to plan future events. Keep track of how many people attended, what time they arrived, how much they ate, which events were the most popular, what worked well and what was a struggle to run, etc. This will all help you to throw an even better event next year.

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