Did you know that acquiring a new customer is more costly than retaining an existing one? According to this infographic, “The Value of an Existing Customer,” by Flowtown, it’s “6-7 times more costly.” What does this mean? You should keep your current customers happy! Obtaining new customers is always a goal, but not only are loyal customers keeping your business thriving, they’re also costing you less dough. So how do you show your customers some love? We’ve compiled some of our favorite customer appreciation gifts, ideas or loyalty programs from various companies to inspire you:

Car Dealerships
I’ve recently been looking into buying a new car and several car dealerships benefit programs are top notch. For example, various programs include free scheduled maintenance, free car washes for life, free breakfast, and even free use of their gym. Dealerships want to keep you and your vehicle happy. By offering perks like these, they keep you coming back, continue to build upon your relationship, and hope that when/if it’s time for your next vehicle, they’ll be at the top of your list.

Old Navy
There are several rewards for being a credit card holder for the Gap, Inc. retailer brand, Old Navy. You get $5 rewards card for every $100 you spend, as well as an extra 15% off on Tuesdays when you use your credit card. Who doesn’t love a discount? Plus, they’ll probably make you shop a little more! Old Navy also frequently sends emails with exclusive offers like “Stuff and Save,” in which you save a certain percentage off everything you can stuff inside a specific bag you receive in the store – Pretty fun!

Portico Restaurant
Portico is a chain restaurant spot (my favorite lunch spot because they have a delicious salad buffet priced by weight) in the Financial District of San Francisco – often frequented by busy lunch-seekers. They have a “Diner’s Club” card in which you get $6 off your next purchase after 8 visits. One of our favorite customer appreciation ideas from Portico, however, (and the most fun to attempt) is one in which, if you pile up your salad  and hit a pound on the scale exactly, your meal is free! I’ve done this twice already, plus I’ve filled up one Diner’s Club card and have started on my second.

Many businesses use this same model of getting stamps each time you buy something to earn something free or a % off. Apps have even been created to keep track of all these loyalty cards with a popular one being Key Ring.

Maker’s Mark 
Maker’s Mark, the small-batch bourbon whisky company, has a extensive and popular ambassador program “reserved for the truly passionate.” The program includes getting “your name in Maker’s Mark history” (wowsa), plus, your name on a Maker’s Mark barrel, an opportunity to purchase a bottle of Maker’s Mark from your batch, updates on the aging of your bourbon, advance notice of rare, special-release bottles, and opportunities to purchase Ambassadors-only Maker’s Mark merchandise amongst other things. They also send some cool swag (like a Maker’s Mark bottle sweater) to members during the holidays.

Jill Bastian, VerticalResponse Training and Education Manager shared an excellent reward she got from Tillamook cheese. As a customer, Jill received a Klout Perk from Tillamook including a t-shirt, canvas bag, glass canning jar for making yogurt parfaits, granola and nuts, and coupons. “So awesome! I eat their cheese, but the Klout Perk made me try their yogurt too.” Tillamook made Jill one happy camper and now she shares her story with friends! A little positive WOM (word of mouth) advertising never hurt anyone.

Domain Chandon
At “Club Chandon,” like many other wineries, you get perks for being part of their club. The club does cost an additional fee, but it includes exclusive deals, 20%-30% off wine and food, a members only area at the winery, a winery tour and a glass of bubbly during every winery visit, plus other perks. They also have complimentary glasses of bubbly for being locals. This is a deal because it rewards locals for visiting the winery and bringing their visiting friends.

Picky Bars
VerticalResponse SEO Specialist, Chipper Nicodemus is a huge fan of Picky Bars (gluten and dairy free energy bars made for endurance) and their Picky Club stating it’s “the swank, exclusive, uber-hard-core, member’s only club —scientifically designed for the biggest Picky Fan Addicts!” Their club perks include opportunities to sample new flavors, members-only discounts, free random stuff (t-shirts, handwritten thank you notes, etc.), and “Whatever else we think of!” They make being part of their club a fun and cool experience.

Hopefully these examples have gotten your own customer appreciation creative ideas flowing. By researching other business’s customer loyalty programs, you can easily discover what will work best for your own biz.

Do you have a customer appreciation or loyalty program at your own business? How do you show your customers some love? Belong to any programs that you’re a fan of? Share away!

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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