Using Entertainment to Create Great Customer Appreciation Events

What’s the most valuable asset of any business? No, it’s not the product or service you provide… it’s your customers or clients. And there’s almost nothing as beneficial to your long term business success as finding effective ways to make your customers feel
important, valued, and appreciated.And of course, in terms of developing new customers, finding ways to set yourself apart and offer a little bit extra will go far in bringing new business to your company as well. If you’re willing to think outside the box, and take a fun, creative approach, there are some great ways that you can use entertainment and “hospitality” to grab the attention of your customers, clients, or prospects, and show them a great time they won’t soon forget.There are a variety of different types of customer appreciation events that you can plan, and depending upon your type of business and your target clientele, you may decide to have it at your business or to hold it “off-site” at an appropriate location. And you may wish to center your event around a special occasion, such as business anniversaries or milestones.For retail and sales businesses, you may decide to have an “open house” in which you both entertain and offer special sales or buying incentives of some kind. These are often used successfully for automobile dealerships, for example, but the idea can be adapted to just about any other type of sales related business.For these types of events, strolling entertainers can be a great attraction to encourage people to attend. Magic is terrific of course, but depending on the tone you wish to set, some other options worth considering include strolling musicians, jugglers, or other variety entertainers.If you expect children to also be present, or if you specifically want to target parents or family groups, you can also include children’s entertainers such as clowns, face painters, or stilt walkers, for example. If you hope to assist parents with sales or other issues during the event, having activities for the children will keep them happy and allow you time to chat with the parents.You may wish to choose a special theme for your event (such as an Irish theme for events around St. Patrick’s Day) to make it more fun and interesting. In this case, you can also choose entertainers that fit the theme, such as Irish cloggers, or Celtic musicians.For the sales open house, you may also wish to team up with a local TV or radio station, particularly if you already advertise with them, and set up a “remote” event, where the station broadcasts live from your location. This helps to bring a bit more excitement, and of course to better promote all the attractions at your event.For professional services, such as realtors, financial planners, and health care offices, you may choose to arrange a more formal “thank you” event to wine and dine both your past and current clients, as well as their friends, referrals, and other prospects. These can be held on site if your office has the space, or you can use a banquet hall or other appropriate facility. And the event itself can run the gamut from a simple cocktail hour, to a more formal dinner party.The more formal affairs call for a slightly different approach to entertainment, but there are still some great choices, (including magic, of course!) A small string quartet or light jazz combo can set a great tone. And you can have a feature performer of some kind, such as a magician, comic, or singer, to provide a great way to wrap up the event and make everyone feel they’ve been treated royally.Another approach to these types of events that can be valuable to your clients is to mix the “hospitality” with an informal “educational seminar” and actually offer them some valuable information. This could be estate planning or investment seminars for financial planners; tips on staying healthy for health care offices such as chiropractors; or a short seminar on refinancing for realtors or mortgage specialists, just to give a few examples.Even with this approach, entertainment can be a terrific addition to help balance out the information and ensure your guests have a truly enjoyable time. The more experienced entertainers (like me) can also customize their programs to fit into the educational theme of your event. For example, using magic as way of illustrating key topic points you wish to emphasize for clients can be a great way to give the ideas more emotional depth and make them truly memorable.If your business attends trade shows or sets up booths at community business expo’s, entertainment can be a great way to grab people’s attention, bring them to your booth, or just make them feel special. And at many of these types of shows, you may also choose to provide a hospitality suite to wine and dine clients, in which case light music or casual strolling entertainment can be a great choice.These (and many other) types of customer appreciation and “thank you” events can be a terrific way to keep your business in the minds of customers and prospects, and even help develop deeper, more long term personal relationships with them. No matter what kind of business you’re in, this kind of specialized attention and consideration towards your customers will pay off many times over in referrals, customer loyalty, and repeat business.

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