COVID Changes - But Doesn’t Cancel - Washington Customer Appreciation Event
Jan 18, 2021
What do you do when a global pandemic threatens to shut down a years-long tradition?
“You get creative,” said Sherri Kooy, of Zimmatic dealer, Kooy’s Irrigation. “We have always had a feast for our Customer Appreciation Day. We wanted to be able to feed people this time, too, but we had to make sure we were following the COVID rules laid down by our governor. We kind of joked about making it a drive-thru event, and then I just said, ‘why not?’”
Kooy, whose dealership serves growers near Quincy, Washington, said the drive-thru event came together quickly.
“We set up stations and had someone directing traffic off the highway, so vehicles didn’t pile up,” Kooy said. “I was at the first station, taking names and contact information for the prize drawing. At the next few stations, we gave people pulled pork sandwiches, chips, apples, cookies and drinks - all packaged to go. Everyone was also given a prize at each station - calendars, date books, mints, pens and more.”
In all, more than 60 vehicles moved through the event - and more than 125 people were served.
“We have heard from some of our attendees who said they were thrilled we were willing to figure things out and still offer our Customer Appreciation Day, because no one else in the area was doing anything like it,” she said. “They all loved we were giving out prizes at each station - a few people even went through the line twice, just so they could tell me how much they appreciated it. When I called people to tell them they had won a door prize, they thanked me for the prize and for the event. And, when guys came into the shop for parts, they all made sure to tell us how much they appreciated it.”
Kooy admits they were “flying by the seat of their pants” for this event, but she says she’ll stick with the drive-thru format - even after COVID is no longer a concern.
“It was actually much easier than the Customer Appreciation Days we’ve had in the past. It was also very well-received and a lot of fun,” she said. “I will definitely do it again. With more time, we can notify vendors, so they will be able to participate. Customers can go through the drive-thru and then, if they want, they will be able to park their vehicles and check out what’s on display.”