Here is a scary question: If you went out of business this year, would your customers even notice? Sadly, 2020 is going to be known as a year of many business failures because of COVID-19. COVID aside, according to a HAVAS Brand survey, 77% of brands could disappear and no-one would care or notice. That is a sobering statistic. That doesn’t mean that the services those businesses provided aren’t still needed. They would simply find it someplace else, easily moving to a different company to accommodate their needs.
The holiday season is a great time to show your customers why you matter and that they should continue to do business with you. Trinkets, coffee mugs or a nice tin of cookies aren’t enough to keep them loyal. You need to SHOW them that you care about them and connect with them on a much deeper level.
Here are 4 ideas to celebrate your clients this holiday season (and beyond):
1. Stay Focused On Them And Their Experience With You
It’s really easy to take your eye of the ball during the busy holiday buzz and bustle. It can feel like you have a million other things to do other than making personal connections with your clients. It would be a mistake to not take the time to focus on your customers ESPECIALLY during this busy time. Making a personal connection with them will make you stand out and help them to realize that they are more than just an account number to you.
Emily Heyward of Fast Company says “You must give to receive. It’s the ancient law of karma and the most important lesson of every Christmas movie! The brand that puts it users (customers) first, whose sole purpose is to serve them, will surely win.” She goes on to list 3 things you can do to put your customers first.
Constantly asking yourself: what can I do to go above and beyond for my customers this week, month or year? Show your hard won customers that they are number one…not just during the holiday season but that you care about your relationship with them all year long.
2. Thank Them For Their Patronage
Simply saying thank you can go a long way. Make sure your customers know you appreciate them. According to the Harvard Business Review, “It’s tempting to think that gratitude can be generated by doing nice things for your customers. It’s a good start, but customers can become conditioned and easily wooed by someone else with nicer gifts.” Simply throwing gifts at them or having a great rewards program isn’t enough. A heartfelt thank you and ongoing efforts to make them feel genuinely wanted and needed will go much farther and last much longer than cheap and impersonal gifts.
Make sure your entire staff understands this principle and make it an essential part of their daily interaction with your customers. It’s sometimes easier for management to appreciate customers as they are often removed from the day to day interactions of customer complaints and needs. Those in the trench’s need to have an appreciative mindset and be appreciated themselves.
3. Find Meaningful Ways To Communicate
I grew up hearing “the squeaky wheel gets the grease!” Make sure you have meaningful communications with your customers. Many large organizations routinely collect customer email addresses and stay in contact with their base. Smaller companies are often much less effective at doing this, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In a previous blog, I advised that you tell your story. Making your business relatable and personal is one of the best ways to ensure loyalty.
Effective email campaigns are inexpensive and easy to carry out. Just make sure that your communications are worthwhile (like announcing a sale or a new product) and don’t be annoying. Most people won’t mind getting occasional communications from companies that they have a relationship with but the line between informative and annoying is one that is easily crossed and can result in resentment.
Make sure you provide easy ways for your customers to connect with you. Email, social media, chat, a website and a phone number can all help to make sure that when your customers need you, they can easily and QUICKLY find you.
4. Acknowledge Anniversaries
As you build a data base (or you may already have one), spend some time looking through it. Find out when your customers began doing business with you and acknowledge those that have been with you for some time. Celebrate your top customers that have been with you the longest and make sure your other customers know you are aware of their time as your customer.
These “celebrations” can begin this season and become a new tradition that can last the whole year.
What do your customers need?
As you spend time looking for ways to connect with your customers this holiday season, figure out what they really need from you. Do they need some extra attention? Do they simply need a heart-felt “thank you?” Can you identify something you can do for them to help them feel appreciated? Focusing on the needs and wants of your customers will help you find ways to connect with them garner their loyalty, appreciation and continued support.