Why should you call out your clients’ achievements? Most people like to be recognized and celebrated when they do something well. Building people up not only shows them that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed, but it also helps to strengthen and encourage relationships. That’s why so many businesses and organizations have employee recognition programs: they want to encourage continued good work, and they want to retain the good workers they have.
The goals of a customer recognition program aren’t much different: you want to show your valued clients, donors, or members that you support them, that you care about what they’re doing, and that you think about their long-term success.
What’s more, a customer recognition program can give you valuable, detailed insight into what your customers do. That, in turn, can help you better understand their needs, inspire other ways that your company can help, and drive the language and content of your campaigns and offers.
Think such a program sounds too invasive or like too much work? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, we think you can set up your program in just four steps:
1. Decide how often you’d like to celebrate a client. Picking a “winner” quarterly might be the best place to start. It should give your team enough time to collect a pool of submissions without the process leaving you feeling bogged down.
2. Determine your criteria. What kind of success do you want to recognize? Technological breakthroughs? Financial success? Outstanding community service efforts? Record-breaking outreach projects? High-profile hires or partners? Any of the above? Identify what you consider customer success and be sure to communicate those criteria with your customers and your internal judges.
3. Identify your judges. Who will determine the customer worthy of recognition every period? Whether you choose one person or your whole team, make sure your judges know their roles ahead of time. Be sure to assign one individual, however, as the collector of submissions to ensure that none are overlooked and all are evaluated at the assigned time.
4. Spread the word. Announce your new program to customers in an email, on your website, and as a side note on every brochure or letter. Encourage your clients to enroll simply by adding your department to their press release distribution list.
Why will your clients care what you think about their actions? First, it costs them very little in time, cost, or effort. Second, your public recognition of their accomplishments creates positive publicity for them (which may, in turn, create publicity for you, depending on how they handle their “winning” selection).
Everyone wants to feel like their work is appreciated. Even your clients.