15 Quirky Customer Appreciation Ideas

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Relationship Management : 7 min read

15 Quirky Customer Appreciation Ideas

Thanking a customer for their business is one of the best ways to retain them—and create some word-of-mouth marketing in the process. But how companies say thank you has changed a lot over the last decade.

It used to be about sending customers a tacky branded pen or “thank you” card.

These days, you can shower your customers with upgrades, #TGIF nights, and even make a charitable donation on their behalf.

The best part is, you don’t have to spend a fortune saying thanks to make the right impression with your customers. As Gary Vaynerchuck said in The Thank You Economy, "It's not the money that makes these efforts shocking and awesome, it's the care and creativity involved."

Let’s dive into 15 unique and memorable ways to say thanks to your customers.

1. Surprise them with an upgrade.

There are few things as powerful as a surprise. Use the element of surprise to show customer appreciation by giving them a free upgrade.

You might surprise a customer who has shown your company loyalty for several years, or pick a customer at random. Whatever way you choose to approach it, make sure the surprise is going to put a smile on their face.

It might be comping their product subscription for a year, or upgrading them for a month or two. Either way, it’s not too extravagant a cost—and you’ll be rewarded with a customer who raves about your brand afterwards.

2. Shine the spotlight on your customers.

Have you got any case studies that showcase customers who got excellent results? Or maybe you've just got a customer who has been with you since the start who you want to feature?

Shine the social media spotlight on them to say thanks. Try showcasing a customer on Twitter or Facebook through a sincere, personal shoutout that shows them you appreciate their business:

customer case study
If crafted carefully, you can feature both the customer and your brand in the same shoutout.

Pro-tip: This one can also double into featuring customers on your website, showing them that they’re a valued customer whose business you appreciate.

3. Shower them with treats.

Everybody loves cookies. Or sweet treats. Or anything food-related that might land in their office from a delivery driver.

Send your customers something delicious to their office to thank them for their business. A company like Christie Cookies has a quirky selection on their website for companies that want to customize their tins with their company branding. Or better yet, add your customer's branding instead:

christies cookies corporate treats

Whatever treat you send them should keep in line with your brand and company message. If you own a fitness or wellbeing company, don't send a customer a bunch of cookies. Send them a healthy gift basket, or a selection of calming teas instead!

4. Throw a party—that’s got nothing to do with networking.

How many times have you been invited to a party by a company you once purchased something from?

Hopefully, a lot. That's because throwing a party for your customers is a great, no-strings-attached way to say thanks.

You can keep it small and host a BBQ in a park, or go all out as Phoenix content-marketing agency McMurry did by hosting a full-blown concert featuring Rick Springfield. The company's executive vice president, Chad Rose, said the company's goal was to share its company culture and team with its clients and prospects.

“We knew that most of the attendees would be middle-aged women, so we thought Rick Springfield would be a popular draw, and he definitely was,” he said.

Whatever party you choose to throw, make sure that the attendees know it’s not a networking event. You can set the event up with your company branding to promote your business, but no selling allowed.

5. Send them a gift card they won’t find in Walmart.

If you can afford to send out a gift card or two to a customer, do it.

Don’t overthink it. Sending out a $5 Starbucks gift card might not seem like much, but not only does it buy your customer their morning cup of joe, it’s the gesture that’s the real goal here.

If you want to go a step further instead of sending out a generic gift card, dig around in your customer notes (if you’re using a CRM, it'll be easy to pull up these details in their customer profile) to see what they like and personalize the gift card around that:

gift ideas from customer records in copper crm
Using Copper, you can add and track when a customer mentions a hobby or activity they like, and use it for gift ideas later.

If your customers are into sports or concerts, StubHub has gift cards you can order in bulk. If they’re a foodie, get them a gift card from Mouth and they can choose from a whole range of artisan food.

Going the extra mile to personalize their gift card to their taste will definitely win you some brownie points.

6. Celebrate their successes with them.

As we move into the relationship era, more businesses are realizing that it's not enough just to treat customers well; we have to make our customers successful too. That's our job.

Once we've accomplished that, celebrating those successes with them means so much more.

Let them know that you’re following and invested in their progress as a business. For example, if their organization celebrates a birthday, or gets recognized at an awards ceremony, send them a small gift to say congratulations.

If you’re unsure how much you should be spending, Seattle-based gift company Knack has a calculator that gives a rough figure based on the occasion and your annual customer revenue:

knack customer gift calculator

Pro-tip: If you don’t have the budget for these types of gifts just yet, that’s okay. Even simple "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations on the award" emails can go a long way to boosting customer sentiment towards you.

7. Hand out some (actually cool) freebies.

These days, branded gifts are so much more than a cheap company pen.

Now, you can shower customers with swag that they will actually use. An article by Snacknation suggested sending your customers quirky branded freebies like yoga mats, reusable straws, and bamboo toothbrushes.

By sending them something that they can use in their daily life, it will mean more, and make your company more memorable in the process. Win-win!

8. Launch a #TGIF for your customers.

Your customers are likely winding down from a busy week on a Friday afternoon, so why not treat them to a drink?

Danish company UserTribe launched #UserTribeFridays as a treat for their customers’ hard work.

Once a month, the company lays on good beer, some quality food, music, and fun activities for four hours. It's totally free; all their customers need to do is register.

9. Go old school with a note.

Why not strip back all the gifts and technology and send them an old-school thank you note?

The great thing about handwritten notes is they work for any kind of thank-you. Whether they've been a loyal customer for a long time or given you some constructive feedback about a flaw in a product, a handwritten note shows the customer that you've spent a little extra time to say thanks.

Of course, if you’re really pressed for time, there is a way to do this without having to write and post the letter yourself. Handwrytten sends handwritten, personalized thank you notes on your behalf. All you need to do is type in a message and an address, and they'll take care of the rest:

handwrytten customer appreciation cards

10. Send them a book.

This is one up on sending your client a blog post or news article they might find helpful.

Chances are, you have clients who are budding entrepreneurs or CEOs looking for ways to be better in their field. So why not send them a book to show them that you want them to succeed in their vision, too?

If they've got a growing sales team, you could send them a copy of Anthony Iannarino’s Eat Their Lunch! to inject a bit of oomph into their sales department. Or, if your client is an ambitious CEO, a book like EntreLeadership will be more up their alley.

Even better, ask a person in a similar role in your company what book you should send over. Their ideas will give you an insight into what kinds of books your customer will appreciate as well.

11. Start a referral program.

Everyone loves freebies and discounts. By implementing a referral program, you can thank your customers with either of these—while reaping a reward at the same time.

Referral programs are popular because they work. You can offer up a gift, a discount, or a product upgrade to your customer as a thank-you for their referral. If you want to set this up on a smaller scale, you can do this by offering these rewards up through email to each customer. (Learn more about referral marketing.)

If you're scaling, this is a little harder to do and it's often easier to bring in some help using software. For example, if you're in the e-commerce space, you can check out a tool like ReferralCandy. It's simple; your customers get cash, free postage, or custom gifts in return for a referral:

referralcandy for customers

Pro-tip: If you’re a brick and mortar store, you can use the same scheme by using a tool like ReferralRock. Same deal, you just set whatever you're prepared to give away for a referral and let your customers do the work for you.

referralrock tool
An example of a customer recommending a company using ReferralRock

12. Start acting on their feedback.

As a customer, how many times have you filled out a feedback survey and then heard… crickets?

A lot of companies do this. They ask for feedback, but never acknowledge it. And it can be discouraging to customers who actually take the time to respond.

Next time your customers leave feedback, thank them by giving them a discount code or maybe even a free product sample.

But don’t stop there: make a note of a customer’s feedback in their profile on your CRM:

customer complaints in copper crm
A CRM isn’t just for keeping track of customers’ contact details. It can be an encyclopedia of their history with your product and company.

And if your company ever acts on it, let them know. For example, let’s say they gave you some super valuable feedback on a product glitch. You could send them something like this:

Hey [Customer’s Name],

Thank you so much for letting us know about [product glitch issue]. We just wanted to apologize again about the stumble in out launch. However, your valuable feedback allowed us to fix it quickly, so we just wanted to reach out and say thank you.

Have a great day!

Best,

[Your name]

It’s the ultimate way of telling your customer: we hear you, we appreciate your input, we made ourselves better thanks to you—thank you!

Pro-tip

Know thy customer 🔍

Learn how to keep customers happy by gathering + using data effectively with this free handbook.

13. Get charitable.

Did you know you can donate to a charity on a customer’s behalf?

Think about the thank-you idea like this: your company has a couple of super-important clients who bring in a ton of revenue. Sending them a personalized cookie tin or handwritten note seems like it's not enough.

Why not donate to their favorite charity instead? This way of saying thanks works because:

  • It's tax-deductible for your company (win!)
  • Your customer gets a philanthropic buzz without lifting a finger
  • And of course, it makes a positive impact on the charity

Pro-tip: Track the results of these thank-yous if you mention them on social media or your website. If it turns out that other customers or prospects love what you're doing, you can try and leverage that buzz each year and make it something your company is known for.

14. Say it with a video.

According to a study by TD Bank, more than 80% of customers still like getting thanked in person.

The majority of the time, it's not possible for a company to fulfill that request. So why not try the next best thing by making a personalized thank-you video?

The team over at Buffer nailed this. They send their customers a “Buffer Birthday” email every year which doubles as a thank you for using their platform. Although the video is a pre-made template that clearly uses the same GIF of their team waving for everyone, the overall message comes across as personal and genuine:

buffer customer video email

Tools like Biteable make it easy to start creating custom videos with your customers. It even has pre-loaded templates you can use, and you can easily customize them to send a memorable thank-you video message:

biteable thank you message video tool

15. Start an exclusive customer appreciation club.

You know the score. Everybody loves exclusive deals and getting in on pre-launched products before the wider public knows about them.

Why not pick out your most loyal customers, or perhaps the ones that bring in the most revenue, and add them to a members-only mailing list? Invite them and let them know that because they’re such great customers, you want to thank them by adding them to an exclusive list. Once they're on the list, they'll get early access to new products, features, and events before the masses.

Unbounce has an “Experts Program” that gives exclusive early access and VIP perks to customers on the list. The program also gives members access to a dedicated Slack channel, where full-stack marketers and developers can bounce ideas off of each other:

unbounce customer appreciation program

Stefano Apostolakos from Webistry is a member. He says having access to the program has given the company “insurmountable value.”

“This has led to new collaborations, happier clients and the added confidence to take on any project — big or small.”

This type of thank-you is great because it only requires an extra email here and there from your team. On the flip side, it can open up the doors to more pre-sales and word-of-mouth marketing for your business because the members feel like they're special and part of an exclusive club.

When it comes to saying thanks, the quirkier, the better.

There are some pretty unique ideas on this list.

On the surface, sending a customer a bamboo toothbrush or donating to their favorite charity might seem a bit left-field. But to make a thank-you memorable and stand out, you've got to think outside the box.

Some of the most memorable thank-you ideas on the list are inexpensive, too. Sending a handwritten note or an inspirational book will only cost your company a couple of dollars, but the ROI might be a loyal, lifetime customer.