23 Best Customer Appreciation Day Ideas

By: | Updated: May 01, 2023

You found our list of creative customer appreciation day ideas.

Customer appreciation day ideas are ways to entertain and show gratitude to clients during thank-you events.  Examples include the customer of the day, loyalty discounts, and personalized thank yous for VIPs. These gestures aim to show customers how much they mean to the business and encourage further client loyalty.

National Customer Appreciation Day is celebrated on April 18th each year.

These events appear in customer success books and customer experience books. The spirit of these occasions is similar to that of corporate luxury gifting. This celebration is a type of gratitude activity.

This list includes:

  • customer appreciation day event ideas
  • customer appreciation week ideas
  • virtual customer appreciation ideas
  • customer appreciation day activities
  • customer appreciation day games

Let’s go!

List of customer appreciation day ideas

From shout-outs to swag to social media challenges, here are ideas to make customer appreciation day engaging and impactful.

1. Sneak Peeks and Soft Launches

Sneak peeks and soft launches are among the best customer appreciation day event ideas. You can give valued customers inside access and an exclusive preview of yet-to-be-launched products and not-yet-announced news. Customers can try out new offerings and provide feedback, which can be a valuable tool for perfecting the product before it goes to market. Or, let your biggest fans feel like they are first in line to try your latest creation. These previews are an excellent way to thank customers for their loyalty and make them feel special and part of your process.

2. Customer of the Day

One of the top customer appreciation week ideas is naming a customer of the day. Each day of the week, choose a client to highlight with a similar spirit to employee of the month.

One approach is to shout out customers for various reasons. For example, Monday’s highlight could be your longest customer, Tuesday your newest customer, and Wednesday your most active customer for the year. Or, you can choose a customer at random.

There are a few ways to do this activity. With the client’s permission, you can give an official nod or do a profile on the highlight in the company’s social media or email. If you go this route, you should gather information a few weeks before your event so it is ready to go come event time. Or, you can give a gift or special prize to the customer who fits each category. Be sure to announce that you have awarded the prize and will continue to give out rewards weeklong to raise the hype, however you can give customers the option to remain anonymous.

This process is similar to employee of the month programs.

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3. Personalized Thank Yous for VIPS

While you may not have the time and resources to craft special messages to every one of your customers, taking the time to personalize VIP messages will make your most important clients feel unique and valued. This gesture can be as simple as a handwritten note or a call from an employee or CEO. However, you can also dream up creative and unexpected deliverables to delight your biggest customers.

For example:

  • Cameo from a celebrity
  • Commissioned piece of art
  • Personalized swag
  • Recordable greeting card
  • Timeline with customer stats (Ex- date joined, number of purchases, emails exchanged – end with “and for that, I send you a million thanks”)

These handcrafted thank-yous rightfully give your most integral customers the impression that you put aside the time to craft a special thanks just for them rather than sending out a less-personal mass message.

4. Celebrate Customeriversaries

Just like you celebrate workiversaries for employees, you can celebrate customeriversaries for clients. This activity requires some research, and you should prepare a few weeks in advance. Simply look up and list how many years each customer has been with your company and send out a special email listing the years of loyalty and thanking the customer for their continued support. Or, if holding an in-person celebration, create a special badge highlighting the years of service. You can also give special treats corresponding to how many years each client has been on the roster. If your company has existed for many years, you can group customers into tiers rather than making a separate reward or distinction for each year.

Here are some work anniversary messages you can use as inspiration.

5. Experiential Thank You Cards

Many companies send out thank you cards for customer appreciation days. Usually, these greetings inspire a few minutes of warm fuzzies and, in the best case, a few weeks on the recipient’s desk or fridge. Getting a thank you card has become pretty standard. However, you can make your card stand out and impress your customers with an experiential approach. Instead of simply printing a card, create a greeting that is a fun and interactive experience.

For example:

  • Colorable
  • Scratch and sniff
  • Pop up
  • Turns into a photo prop a la Flat Stanley
  • QR code that leads to a secret website

The card does not have to be expensive to be memorable. Creating a fun and unique experience for the recipient shows that you put extra thought and effort into making them smile and can make a big impression on your client.

6. Company Communication Shout-outs

One of the most common customer appreciation day ideas is highlighting clients in company communications.

For example:

  • Social media post
  • Blog article
  • Email newsletter feature
  • Page on the company website

You can start with your longest client relationships and work backward or publicly choose customers randomly, so no customer feels slighted. However, keep in mind that in most cases, it is a good idea to give customers a heads-up and get permission before posting publicly. Also, if you choose to do a profile or interview of a customer vs. a quick shout-out, then you should gather information weeks ahead of time to ensure you are publish-ready by the deadline.

7. Charity Contributions

One of the most meaningful customer appreciation day ideas is to make a charitable donation on behalf of your customers. You can make one lump sum donation in honor of your clientele or pledge a certain amount per customer. Since making hundreds of separate donations would be time-consuming, making a symbolic donation per client under one large contribution is sufficient. However, you may want to make separate donations for VIP clients, granted you are sure that the client supports the cause to which you contribute.

Another option is to utilize Gifts for Good. This vendor curates collections of gifts that support missions like supporting veterans or supplying drinkable water and gives recipients the option of donating to the cause directly. Best of all, the gifts are sendable online, so you do not have to worry about gathering or entering client addresses!

8. Special Swag

One way to commemorate customer appreciation day is to create special swag for the occasion. These promotional items should be novel and surprising. Plain-old pens or keychains are unlikely to impress your customers. Instead, spring for swanky swag for VIPs, like branded portable speakers or high-end metal water bottles. If gifting swag to all your customers, choose a cool and unusual item, like a keychain phone holder with a compartment for a cleaning cloth or a plantable pencil. Or, you can customize favorites like socks and stickers with customer appreciation slogans and graphics. A mug with your logo and “world’s best customer” sounds like a pretty sweet gift.

For inspiration, check out these lists of swag companies and swag gift ideas.

9. Trivia

Trivia is one of the most fun customer appreciation day games. You can put your customers to the test to prove they are your biggest fan with company-themed trivia. First, come up with questions specific to your organization. Feel free to branch out beyond basic facts like your founding year and number one product and include fun questions like the name of the office dog and your CEO’s celebrity doppelganger. You can consist of non-company-specific trivia too.

To encourage player participation, you can offer prizes, organize an online trivia bracket, or display top point-earners on a video-game-like spreadsheet scoreboard.

Learn more about trivia games and activities for adults.

10. Thank You Party

A thank you party is one of the best customer appreciation events. You can invite your clients to visit your business or a third-party venue for complimentary food and entertainment. If you have a large budget, then you could throw a formal party with bells and whistles like cocktails, musicians, hors d’oeuvres, and fancy decorations. Or, keep it simple and offer light refreshments, swag bags, free samples, and a thank you speech at your HQ. The most important part of these events is connecting and spending time with clients outside of business transactions.

11. Loyalty Discounts

Discounts, deals, and special sales are among the most common customer appreciation day incentives. These tactics can boost sales while treating customers. In addition, many companies offer loyalty rewards for longtime customers, such as 10 or 20% off, buy one get one free, or a discount on a featured product.

However, you can make customer deals more remarkable by taking a creative approach.

For example:

  • Scratch-off tickets
  • Gameshow-style “pick a door”
  • Especially-designed gift cards
  • Discounts based on how many boxes the client marks on a checklist
  • Silly superlatives like “funniest email signature” or “client with the cutest dog”

These discounts can generate sales while giving customers a treat for doing business with you.

12. Zoom meeting with the CEO

Granting customers an audience with your organization’s leader will make clientele feel important. You can arrange for a webinar featuring your CEO and invite clients. To keep the event orderly, you can collect RSVPs and cap attendance or invite a select group of customers. This meeting might be a town hall where the CEO gives updates and exclusive announcements, a Q&A session, or a casual lunch hangout with the big boss. This event can humanize your brand and build even stronger relationships with your customers.

Pro tip: If expecting a big crowd, then keep mics muted and interact via the chat.

13. Social Media Challenge

Social media challenges are one of the best virtual customer appreciation ideas. You can recreate a trend or start your own challenge and encourage customers to participate.

For example:

  • Draw the company logo, mascot, or product blindfolded and one-handed
  • Pitch an absolutely ridiculous yet on-brand product idea
  • Post a photo of unexpected use of the product
  • Pick up a free sticker and snap a shot of where you stuck it
  • Record a silly how-to video

To sweeten the deal, offer a prize to the most well-done and creative posts and reshare standout entries on your channel.

14. Giveaways

Giveaways are great ideas for customer appreciation days. Whether your event is virtual or in-person, the promise of freebies can boost turnout and engagement and give lucky winners long-lasting goodwill towards the business. You can do raffles, door prizes, hourly giveaways, social media contests, or think up imaginative methods of getting prizes into the hands of your clientele.

Check out these lists of office raffle prize ideas and work contest ideas.

15. Performers

Entertainment and performances are great ideas for customer appreciation events. You can book a comedian, singer, guest lecturer, or DJ for clients to enjoy during the occasion. These performances can take place virtually or in person, and clients can enjoy the entertainment without paying an admission fee. Amazing acts like areal acrobats can leave a lasting impression on your guests. However, even a modest local musician can be enjoyable and appreciated by customers.

Pro tip: For an extra special touch, have the performer take requests, and hand out request cards to facilitate the process.

16. First # Free

First # free promotions make great promotions for customer appreciation days. You can give away a set number of products to visiting customers with or without a purchase. Remember that the freebie does not need to be your organization’s product. For example, give away a gourmet donut from a local shop to every early visitor if your product is pricey or service-based. If your event is virtual, you can use digital forms, and perhaps award the first ten customers or so who submit every hour.

For customer appreciation days, we recommend giving away freebies with no purchase needed, as making guests buy something feels more like promotion than a token of gratitude. Nevertheless, this tactic can prompt purchases and traffic to your physical or virtual storefront.

17. Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Behind-the-scenes tours are one of the best customer appreciation day activities. These events give clients a peek at the inner workings of the company and create an insider and VIP experience. You can tour the production floor or your offices, give demonstrations of manufacturing or creative development processes, provide a peek into your company culture, and invite different members of the organization to speak. If your event is online, then you can do a live virtual tour.

Pro tip: Remember that the best tours include free samples or try-it-yourself experiences, especially if your company produces food!

18. Referral Credits

You can turn clients into brand evangelists and reward the customers already singing your praises by offering referral credits. These promotions give new and existing customers a discount when the referee makes a purchase or signs up for service. The easiest way to give these credits is with a physical coupon or a discount code. You can also give customers a small gift or perk if they bring a friend to the customer appreciation event.

This tactic is a win-win because it generates new business and gives existing customers a bonus.

19. Photo Booth

Setting up a photo booth can be a fun customer appreciation experience. Many folks like taking silly selfies with props, and the photograph can be a remembrance of the fun event that reminds customers of your company every time they glance at it.

If you have the budget, then you can rent a professional photo booth with a custom-branded border. Some vendors can also project the photos on the wall in real time.

Photo booths are also relatively easy and inexpensive to DIY. You can encourage customers to share and tag you on social media or display a photo disclaimer during the event and share the pics on your company channel.

20. Thank You Video

Recording a thank you video for clients can be a fun idea for customer appreciation day. This gesture has a personal touch and can put a face to the brand. Feel free to have fun and take a creative approach to filming.

For example:

  • Dramatically reading positive reviews
  • Lip-synching music video
  • Highlight reel of fun customer interactions
  • Reenactments of some of your favorite customer moments
  • Compilation of screenshots of amusing client emails (laughing with clients, not making fun of them of course!)

Putting effort and humor into these videos can make the final product more memorable. However, there is no shame in staying simple and delivering a heartfelt and sincere message letting your customers know how much they mean to the business.

21. Special Guests

Inviting a special guest to customer appreciation events upgrades the occasion. For example, you can book a guest speaker, invite a local celebrity, arrange a visit from a bunch of rescue puppies, or recruit the owner’s parents to hand out cookies. To build buzz, you can tease a surprise guest and reveal their identity directly before or during the event. Adding a third party to the festivities can make the occasion seem more special and less transactional.

22. Fan Art Contests

Fan art contests are a fun way to get customers involved in your business on customer appreciation day. You can ask clients to get creative and submit art of the brand, then show off those masterpieces in an online gallery. The art can take many forms, including drawings, logo redesigns, parody songs, slogans, kids’ coloring pages, and videos. To make the activity extra-special, invite visitors to vote on their favorites and award prizes to the top rankers. This campaign can create a sense of community among customers and give clients a platform to express creativity.

23. Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts make great interactive customer appreciation day activities. You can do these games virtually or in person. Simply make a list of prompts, questions, clues, and challenges, give the lists to players, and designate a timeframe to find or act out the items on the list.

For example:

  • Find a hidden object on our website
  • Write us a haiku
  • Take a selfie with a piece of our swag
  • Guess how many times our CEO uses the word “awesome” a day on average
  • Screenshot a funny (but nice!) Tweet about us
  • Take a picture of what you think our next mascot should be
  • Turn one of the following company photos into a meme

You can give each participant who completes the challenge a discount or digital gift card. The submissions can generate funny marketing assets to include in email newsletters or on social media.

Here are scavenger hunt ideas for adults, photo scavenger hunt ideas, and virtual scavenger hunt ideas.

Final Thoughts

Customer appreciation days are chances for you to show your clientele how much they mean to you. The ultimate purpose of these events is to encourage client loyalty and future business. However, the spirit of these gatherings should not be strictly transactional and should involve true gratitude. It is important to recognize that great customers make your brand strong and your business successful, and these celebrations are a way to honor that fact and strengthen your relationship with your clientele. Using fun and thoughtful ideas to make the events memorable, you can attract new customers, earn further favor with existing customers, and establish long-time brand fans.

Next, check out virtual thank you ideas and employee appreciation quotes.

We also have a list of the best ideas for client gifts.

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FAQ: Customer appreciation day ideas

Here are answers to common questions about customer appreciation day ideas.

What is customer appreciation day?

Customer appreciation day is a special event where businesses celebrate their clients. National Customer Appreciation Day is on April 18, however, you can hold a customer appreciation event whenever suits your business. You can even celebrate multiple times a year! Some companies do customer appreciation weeks or months to extend thanks. These events typically include special sales or discounts, complimentary food and swag, parties, and entertainment. The celebrations can be in-person, virtual, or hybrid.

How do you hold a customer appreciation day?

To hold your customer appreciation day, plan out an agenda. First, decide on a budget and a date. Then, choose where to host the location, for example, at your business, online, a third-party space, or a combination of those options. Next, choose how you will honor customers. It is a good idea to give special treatment to longtime customers and VIPs. For maximum return on investment, it is also wise to seize social media sharing and marketing opportunities and nurture leads. Once you finalize plans, send invitations and announcements to customers. Finally, gather together and have a good time with your clients.

What are some good customer appreciation day ideas?

Some good customer appreciation day ideas include experiential thank you cards, behind-the-scenes tours, special swag, and sneak peeks or soft launches.

Author avatar


Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.


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