Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated? It doesn’t seem unreasonable to want to appreciate our customers, right? Especially the ones who continue to do business with us despite the overall struggle to maintain loyalty. Yet there has been a lot of conversation as to whether or not holding a “customer appreciation day” is useful or necessary. Where a lot of the conversation offers that the customer appreciation days (themselves) are not much different than any other day.
The only difference really, is a few food spreads in the service lane & a nice cake. Or I think one year there was a face painter for the kids. Point being, if the purpose of the event is to genuinely ‘thank’ the customer then make it about the customer. Making sure, though, to outreach to all of your customers. Not just the ones that are in the service lane for their appointment that day.
If you are hoping for an ROI on the event (which, let’s face it - the purpose of events is to drum up business), then find the balance of offering both. Making it a worthwhile effort. I offer that all too often - those of us in the trenches - forgot that buying a car is usually the second largest purchase people make in their lives. So there is a lot of emotion tied to their experience.
Here are some best practices for holding a customer appreciation day.
Customer Car Care Clinic
Hosting an extravagant event is not always necessary. What is helpful, though, and something your customer would most likely find value in is a free car care clinic. A clinic where the customer can learn better ways to manage and maintain their vehicle. Where the service technician can show examples of what missing the OEM maintenance intervals can do to the vehicle.
Not saying that every customer that attends will purchase a service contract or complete the OEM maintenance intervals. BUT, they will appreciate the free advice. And if it sells one or two contracts then it is worth the effort.
It Is Not Just Another Day in Service
Without an ‘event,’ or a central theme to the customer appreciation day then it is pretty much a typical day in service. With a food spread and perhaps (in some cases) free entertainment for the kids. And do not get me wrong, parents love the free entertainment or food. Making it convenient for them, so they don’t have to make that extra stop after servicing their vehicle. Not to mention, it will help keep the kids entertained while they attend the event. Making it more likely for them to purchase a contract.
If you choose not to do a clinic for the appreciation day then make sure to have an event planned. Whether that is a family geared day such as a "movie night" or even a "child safety" day before back to school. The options are endless, really!
Twice is Nice
Hosting the Customer Appreciation Day twice a year is enough. Whether that is two clinics or two events. With one in the Spring and the other in the Fall. This allows you to put time, effort & thought into the event. Making sure there is an overall purpose. And if you choose to do the clinics it can turn into an ROI - that is selling service contracts, up-sells, all while thanking the customer for their loyalty to your brand!
Do you host customer appreciation days? If so, how often? If not - did you used to host them? What is the most successful Customer Appreciation Day you Hosted?