Customer appreciation parties are an excellent way to make an impact with customers. By hosting a party, you can engage your customers and thank them all at once for their dedication. Targeted personal interaction can build brand loyalty, generate new interest, and produce new business. Without the proper planning and a measurable goal, a customer appreciation party can quickly turn into an expensive cocktail party. Work hard to create a unique and memorable experience for your customers. A good customer appreciation party is guaranteed to bring more sales. When planning your customer appreciation party, remember the following rules:
Determine a budget
Before you plan a thing, set a budget. With a good plan and negotiations, you can usually scrape together a decent sized budget. If you aren’t where you’d like to be, think about asking partners for funding. They can provide a sponsorship fee in exchange for recognition and charge them to attend the party itself. Depending on your industry and connections, you can also ask key companies to donate food, promotional products, and supplies in exchange for party recognition. Just keep in mind that there should be no “selling” of product at your party.
Plan well ahead
Start planning your customer appreciation party at least 5 months in advance. By planning well in advance, you have time to determine your theme and what you want to achieve by hosting your event. Your first priority should be to secure a venue. When choosing a venue, think somewhere unique, innovative, and fun. Your venue should be close to your customers, provide ample parking, and should have a low noise factor. Keep traffic in mind. Your customers should be able to easily navigate to your party. A good venue should inspire your party theme and excite your guests.
Pick the perfect date
Once you have selected a venue, it’s important to pick the perfect date. Determine if you would like to have your event during the work day or in the evening. Some companies choose not to have evening events that might interfere with their customer’s family commitments. ECC has had great success with afternoon events on Thursdays. We have found that this time frame accommodates people with families and customers are gearing up for the weekend. Generally, you will have more success by planning events towards the end of the work week when meetings and appointments are winding down. Avoid dates close to holidays, large sporting events, and check city calendars for big concerts and conferences. Send our Save the Date emails well in advance to lock in your date.
Think outside the box
You have your venue, now it’s time to choose a theme. Put your creative heads together and think outside the box. What do you want to achieve with this event? Think about what your customer base would like not necessarily what you might like to do. Poll your customers on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a great way to get feedback and build up your social media. If your goal is to is to get old, new, and potential customer to mingle, design a team treasure hunt around your venue. More conservative audiences might choose to have a keynote speaker so customers can take away business tips and tricks. Maybe you chose a swanky new martini bar and you want to have VIP theme with goodie bags and a band to make your customers feel special. Whatever you choose, make your event memorable with creative touches.
Don’t forget the little man
Customer appreciation parties are great space to build upon your customer impressions and personal interactions. Put together a guest list early and don’t forget the little man. All your customers should be invited, regardless of sales totals. However you want to keep the event positive, you may want to think twice about customers that might be disgruntled. Don’t forget to invite people from you own company that have an impact with your customers- customer service, internal sales, and management. Delegate tasks and set up schedules for staff to rotate tasks, to ensure everyone has time to interact with customers. If there’s room, consider inviting any potential customers. If they see how happy your customers are and how much you appreciate them, this will only help you close the sale.
Invitations are essential
Create excitement around your event with inventive invitations. No boring paper invitations with your logo and times new roman fonts. Put your creative minds together and design a custom invitation. If that’s not exactly in your budget, there are several free websites that allow you to personalize graphic invitations. These sites allow you to upload your invitation list, choose your parameters, and will track your RSVPs. The custom invitation emails from designer websites sometimes fall into junk or spam folders. If you don’t get the response you desire, follow up with personal emails and phone calls.
Customers expect a thank you gift
The purpose of the party is to thank every customer that helped grow your company. Make sure to acknowledge every customer. Do not host a customer appreciation party without giving a customer appreciation gift. Be sure that you do not give them the same merchandise that you have given them in the past and don’t be cheap. Everyone has plenty basic tees, pens, and cozies. Look for new items with high perceived values. Give them something they can use. Need help finding the right products? Contact ECC today!
No matter how much you plan be prepared for the unexpected. Always have a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Have extra food and gifts available for those guests that forgot to RSVP. Plan for people that have dietary or allergy needs by offering a variety foods and beverages. Pack a box of extra supplies- tape, string, staples, markers, first aid kit, etc. You never know what you might need last minute. Do not let customers drink and drive. Have a cab company on standby in case you need to arrange transportation. Be as prepared as possible, but know things happened. Just remember to smile, have fun, and say thank you!
Event Planning Timeline
4-6 Months Prior to Event
- Create a party planning committee
- Determine a budget
- Choose a venue
- Choose a date
- Make a preliminary guest list
- Decide party objective and theme
- Negotiate and set up tastings for food and beverage options
- Research entertainment options and review.
3 Months Prior to Event
- Secure catering, Food truck, or Restaurant
- Secure transportation if needed
- Secure entertainment (band, key note speaker, etc)
- Send Save the Date emails
- Work with designer to create memorable invitations. Or design invitations online.
2 Months Prior to Event
- Design décor- posters, signs, etc.
- Order promotion products for gifts
- Order or reserve decorations- table cloths, centerpieces, etc.
5 Weeks Prior to Event
- Finalize guest list
- Finalize Invitations and set up RSVP
- Email or mail invitations
1 Week Prior to Event
- Follow up Invitations with call or personal email
- Confirm details with all vendors
- Obtain numbers of cab companies
- Determine staff tasks and assign rotating schedules
- Assemble gift bags
- Create box of supplies needed for check in table
- Confirm attendees
- Send directions and agendas to attendees
One Day or Morning of Event
- Print final attendee list
- Setup check in table
- Assemble tables with gifts
- Decorate space
- Print Agenda
Call us, or fill out the form on the right with any questions. 1.888.383.3071