So, it’s silly season again! Why is it, at this time of year, organisations are so busy thinking about Christmas promotions and seasonal activities, that they forget the most important people in all this chaos, “their customers”?
It’s hard to believe there will be a time after this madness.
Trust us, there will be, and there’s something you need to be very aware of. It’s a time when organisations can win more customers, however it’s also a time when they can lose existing loyal customers as they are no longer feel a priority.
Your customers feel unloved, uncared for, and that they are being deceived, they have to fight to get the delivery you promised them, and there certainly isn’t a lot of love and laughter and joy ever after.
So how do you make sure this doesn’t happen and you retain and gain customers for life and not just for Christmas?
Some businesses say they've won 59% of new business from new customers during this period. This can be down to non-regular customers looking for deals on corporate gifts, experiences, places for Christmas events, meals, drinks, parties and Christmas presents.
Typically, they are searching for items they wouldn’t usually shop for, Christmas products, foods, decorations and items to give the home or office a festive feel.
This offers a great opportunity to gather data from a range of potential customers, some of which could become long term customers.
However, on the flipside of this, the sudden increase in sales, whilst it should be good for business, can in fact have the adverse effect. The additional demands on the operation may cause basic delivery failures, a lack of response times and organisations unable to resolve problems efficiently and quickly.
Staff feel the pressure and are tired and stressed, which results in them being short and snappy, not only with each other but also the customer. All this resulting in a terrible customer experience, with loyal customers leaving, new ones not returning, and ultimately incredibly brand damaging.
Never has it been so important to deliver exceptional customer experiences and focus on customers for life and not just for Christmas, as it is during this festive madness.
The most important part of the holiday season is actually focusing on longevity and ensuring you retain those customers and give them a reason to come back.
Invest in ensuring operational excellence during this period, make sure your staff are engaged and happy and you have enough of them to handle the work load.
Regularly check in with your existing customer either by email, or how about picking up the phone?
Not only will this make them feel amazing, it is also a great opportunity for you to up sell to these customers.
With your new customers, gather data and email addresses whilst they shop throughout this period, you’re opening up the opportunity for future communication with these people. Using behavioural overlays is a great way to gather customer data, at the right time in the customer’s journey.
Modern technology has made it incredibly easy for us to keep in touch with our customers at all times and especially during these busy periods.
Here's our top tips for making It happen (and making It fabulous)
1.Keep it personal
When it comes to sending out emails, tailored content significantly increases in customer engagement. Ensure you are capturing the right data. The more information you have about each of your customers, the more personalised and targeted you can be with your emails. (Remember making the perfect offer, to the perfect person, In the perfect time from marketing school?)
2. Emotionally connect
Capturing information to enable us to sell more to our customers is one thing, but what about emotional connections. Get to know your customer at the heart, do they have pets, children, grandchildren, when was their last holiday and where, what about the next one? It doesn’t matter if you’re not a holiday company, a pet supplier, or toy shop, this is a great way to connect with your customers on an emotional level, build relationships and establish a common ground.
3. Don’t overdo it
When customers sign up to newsletters, it’s usually because they want to stay up to date with a companys' latest news and discounts, but as soon as they see too much of a name in their inbox, it gets annoying. In fact, 69% of customers unsubscribe due to “too much marketing”.
4. Carefully place your CTA
Calls To Action should provide a clear action you want your customer to take. A good CTA can make the difference between your customers ignoring you or further engaging with you. These call to actions don’t have to be purchase actions, they could be "reply" actions or other ways of engaging.
5. Good Quality, Creative Content
Send out content that is valuable to your customers. From a catchy subject line to engaging imagery, make your brand the one that gets noticed.
6. Super effective follow up
In the New Year once the madness is over, send them a personal thank you message, either by email, a phone call, or how about a good old-fashioned hand-written note? Depending on your business and your customers you can pop in, shake their hand and say thank you for your business and all their support over the festive season. How powerful would that be?
How about replacing the Christmas card that will get lost In the piles of others, with a Happy New Year card with personalised note inside?
7. Keep it consistent.
The love you show all your customers existing and new over the festive period, should never end. Just like a puppy, they are not just for Christmas, it should be a life time of love, happiness, laughter and waggy, happy tales.