Retaining your best customers is so much easier and more lucrative than finding new ones. Showing those important customers how much you value them is quite simply a no-brainer. The most effective way of building loyalty is through authentic relationships and, much as we all like to automate everything these days, there is still little to match the power of in-person events.
Depending on the nature of your business, customer events can be intimate and expensive, like a golf day or a VIP table at an awards ceremony. Or they can cast a wider net through a conference or training day.
The important thing is to be clear about your objectives and to target the events effectively. Every event should make your customers feel special, offer opportunities for direct engagement with your team and leave them knowing a bit more about what your business has to offer them. You want your guests to leave the event feeling very good about you and your business.
Here are 3 ideas for a great customer event.
1. Wine tasting
This can be a very relaxed way to thank your best customers. Wine-tasting events are lots of fun and highly informative. If you want to dial it up to a VIP luxury level you can include top wines like the prestigious Margaux vintages from the Bordeaux wine region. Wine tasting is something different and something very special. And your customers will continue to think about you every time they open a special bottle far into the future.
2. Learning event
This could be a workshop, a conference or a speaker event. It’s an opportunity to educate and share expertise with your customers. The learning event needs to add a lot of value to your product or service to attract customers. So think about how you can make it especially appealing. An exciting or well-known speaker always helps, along with the promise of refreshments. Timing is also important. It’s worth doing an informal or formal poll with a sample of customers to see what would work best for them in terms of location and time and if they have any other needs like parking.
3. Supporting local sports or the arts
Supporting local culture or sports is a great way to both build awareness of your brand and customer loyalty. Sponsorship of local groups can be much more cost-effective than you think and will provide a calendar of opportunities for client schmoozing. Depending on your client demographics you could take a spectator box at your local football or rugby team or you could become a patron of local artists and musicians, with the opportunity for your clients to join you on opening nights and private views.
If you have more than a handful of customers then your customer event has to start with an excellent Customer Relationship Management system. The process begins with effective customer lists, information and segmentation, so that when the time comes to hold an event you can quickly and efficiently put a well-targeted guest list together. And don’t forget to get feedback after the event so that you can continue to improve your offer and keep growing those key relationships.