From mid-November through January 1, life becomes busier for small businesses and their customers. Businesses begin yearly promotions and add new products or services as needed. Customers begin holiday plans and shopping. It’s easy to lose sight of everyday courtesies and focus on being busy.
Customer retention and satisfaction are key to a business that thrives—and its cash flow. One easy way to do that is to remember to express thanks and gratitude to customers during the holidays. Not seizing the chance can result in a missed opportunity as well as spoiled connections with customers. Conversely, finding innovative ways to show customer appreciation can cultivate loyalty.
Customer appreciation involves demonstrating gratitude and acknowledgment to customers for their loyalty and support for your business. It also recognizes the invaluable contribution customers make to your business and expresses your thanks for their ongoing involvement.
Building customer appreciation goes beyond transactions to build relationships and foster a strong connection.
Messages of goodwill and appreciation are abundant at year’s end when people feel festive. If your business doesn’t have a plan in place, now is the time to start thinking about thanking your customers for their business this holiday season.
E-mail is still a popular marketing method for businesses of all sizes. Send out one email during the season that tells your customers “thank you for your business” and welcomes them to return in the new year.
The holiday message is welcome at any point in their customer journey. Everyone is in a different part of their journey, so send the holiday email separately from any messages with “sales-y” language. They expect to receive marketing and transactional emails. But the holiday subject line should stand out, so they understand the message before they open (or delete) the email.
I don’t know what to write!
That’s OK—get help from a quick visit to your favorite search engine. Hubspot offers free holiday templates on its website. Start with these, but don’t copy and paste, or you’ll sound dry and generic. Inboxes will be full of different holiday offers, so make it short, simple, and a fast read. Keep your message and branding on point and customize the email for your company.
For those who opted into receiving texts, take advantage of getting your messages on their phone. Short and pointed are key. Announce your holiday hours, or other important reminders for the season, but avoid a sales pitch just like emails.
Make sure to keep your end-of-year wording generic. For instance, “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” are more acceptable than “Merry Christmas” for most of your customers. The message doesn’t have to be long, just heartfelt. There should be no “selling” messages in this one.
Implement a loyalty program
Consider offering regular customers discounts for:
- Repeat or subscription orders
- Picking up directly instead of shipping
- Rewards that accumulate with every purchase
Offer your loyal customers early access to new products and services or upcoming holiday deals as an incentive for being a member.
Send a small gift
You can send something to just a few customers, specific groups, or your entire customer list. Unlike the fancier (and expensive) gift baskets larger companies send, a small gift can be inexpensive and meaningful. Gift cards, coupons, free samples of one of your goods or services, and branded “merch” are great ways to thank your customers. The gift also helps keep your company top of mind for the new year.
Add a gift to their order
For customers with regular orders, you can include something extra in their order with some perceived value. Branded “merch” will keep your message in front of them. Offering discounts for their next order gives an incentive for repeat business. Including a “sneak peek” at an upcoming product or service is also a nice gift.
Leverage your social media
Is your brand’s social media active? If not, now is a great time to activate your digital presence and include your customers.
Start with some holiday-themed graphics, videos, and pictures. For instance, post a picture of the people who work at the company or behind-the-scenes videos. Thank your customers for their continued support, and engage with them in comments and answer their DMs. Encourage customers to post their favorite holiday memories. Are you considering holding a contest or flash sale? Tell them on social media, and include popular holiday hashtags, such as:
Trending and relevant hashtags like these as well as others can increase your post engagement and campaign’s reach. Hashtags also categorize your campaign’s content so users can find it easily.
Send a physical thank-you card
When was the last time you received a real thank-you note or holiday card in the mail? Chances are it’s been a while. Your customers would say the same thing. A year-end thank-you/holiday card would be just the thing to remind them you appreciate their business.
Before you send them, make sure to sign them, too. You can have a generic “from our company” printed on the card, but a signature is better. Give the cards to each team member to sign and mail to the customers they work with to engage the entire company.
Having a party? Invite them, too
If you’re planning a holiday party, consider extending the invitation to your customers. They’ll appreciate the invitation and enjoy meeting the people they conduct business with. Bonus: you and your customers can have opportunities to network while enjoying the hors d’oeuvres.
Keeping in touch with your customers during the holiday season—and all year long—is easy with VoIP. Contact Press8 Telecom today to discuss upgrading your small business phone system to a new, flexible VoIP system for less money than a traditionally hosted PBX system. Talk to us, and we’ll give you a free quote on the system that works for your company.