As we enter the holiday season, it can be difficult to maintain connections with customers. Increased sales demands and a focus on the bottom line can sometimes take a toll on customer relationships. In order to counteract the natural tendency towards customer abandonment during busy seasons, here are a few quick, personal, and creative ways to let your customers know that they’re the stars on your holiday tree.
No matter how busy your clients seem to be, everyone has time to open a handwritten card. As brands become more and more focused on electronic messages of holiday cheer, a holiday card is fantastic (and shiny) proof that you truly care about your customers. In 2011 a U.S. Postal Service survey suggested that personal letters were at an all-time low. Today, you need only look at your own mailbox and consider how such a greeting would stand out. If you don’t think you have the time or the money to spare on writing a card, consider the return on investment of setting yourself apart from the competition. When it comes time for a client to renew their contract, are they more likely to go with the person who took the time to personally connect through a card, or the person who sent along an email?
We live in an age of the Internet, so electronic greetings are both welcome and and ubiquitous. There are several companies that allow you to create personalized e-cards that incorporate your choice of branding, images, music, and messaging to ensure that each client gets something special. E-greetings also have the benefit of integrating with CRM software. You don’t have to worry about manually sending each email: you can personalize and customize using a matrix, which makes it cost-effective and scalable to other seasons.
Nothing can replace the powerful quality of taking a few minutes out of your sales day to share your holiday greeting in person. This is an especially important tactic for those high-yielding clients who make up the majority of your sales book. Make a call early in the week and find out a good time for your client, then drop for a quick conversation. Bring a card or personalized gift with you and hand it off. Your client will feel appreciated when you make them a special part of your holiday greeting tour.
Text It In
Although leaving holiday phone messages was previously a big part of managing customer relationships, the last decade has seen a drastic decline in the use of phones for calling. The New York Times recently reported that newer generations are listening to voicemail less and less. Voicemails are not always the most reliable way of reaching customers. A 2013 Ipsos survey revealed that only 3 in 10 people generally prefer to text. Still, because texting is a non-traditional way to connect with clients, make sure that any texts are personalized, specific, and supported with another, more traditional greeting.
Have a Party
In some B2B sales cultures, a holiday party is one of the best networking opportunities of the year. Not only can you show your appreciation for your current clients and boost the morale of your employees, but you can use the holiday celebration as a way to get new referrals for the sluggish first quarter.
When developing your holiday party, consider these things carefully before you create your guest list:
- What is the overall sales goal for your party? Referrals? Customer retention?
- What is the budget for your event?
- Who should be invited, and how will you determine who isn’t invited?
- Will your party be formal or informal?
- Will you include gifts?
The right holiday party with the right guests is an excellent investment in the future of your business. Just make sure you have fun and that your invited clients are made to feel appreciated for their part in making you successful.
What do you think?
In addition to reaching out to your customers personally, consider reaching out technologically. Over the holiday season, you have a great opportunity to create content that will brand your business for the rest of the year. For example, you can create a personalized holiday video that reflects your company’s ideals. If you choose, you can also share personal stories. This approach to seasonal holidays shows customers that their engagement and personal story is as important as it would be any other time of the Year.
Do you have any extra special things that you do for your clients during the holidays? Let us know in the comments!