Throughout Sacramento, businesses have packed up the remnants of their holiday decor, and stuffing away piles of seasonal greeting cards, half-finished boxes of candy and other gifts of appreciation. While it may be tempting to wait until next year, when it’s time to tally up the cards and gifts you’ll need to send clients at the end of 2015, there are ways to show your supporters that you appreciate them year round. Here’s how to develop a year-round strategy without additional headaches.
Plan Ahead: The most important aspect of customer appreciation is serving them well year round. Plus, no one likes the last minute post-Thanksgiving scramble to procure gifts and cards for a long list of clients. To amp up the authenticity and decrease the preparatory stress of client appreciation, plan throughout the year. Try setting aside one morning a month for client appreciation, and use the time to brainstorm with your team how to make the next month magical.
Involve Your Employees: Take pictures of your team at work to include in your cards, and put a real face on your behind-the-scenes team. If your client sends a gift, work together to pen personalized thank your cards. And most of all, have your employees running recon all year round. Have team members keep notes on what clients love for opportunities to show appreciation down the road.
Companies like the Ritz Carlton hotels have made this kind of “secret shopping” for clients legendary but by simply listening and designating a place to capture notes you too can surprise and delight your clients year round.
Divide and Conquer: No one like wants to feel like another face in the crowd, or another name on the list, and that goes for your clients. If you have a larger client base, consider isolating specific types of clients such as regulars, new parents or retirees, and then crafting an appreciation campaign unique to their businesses or the type of relationship your companies have with one another. Also, consider sending something special on a client’s birthday or to celebrate anniversary of your business relationship.
Embrace Weird Holidays:
The problem with holiday cards is that everyone sends, them so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. There are hundreds lesser-known holidays that it should be easy enough to find a day that jives with your brand. Selling sandals? Celebrate “No Socks Day” with a sale. Put a smile on your clients’ faces by sending a funny gif on “Mustache Day” or “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” If you’re a diner, offer a coupon for “Waffle Day.”
By focusing on other holidays and special events throughout the year, you can stand out among your competitors and colleagues. This can be as simple as “we love working with you” on Valentine’s Day or “seasons may change but we always enjoy seeing you in the store” for the first day of Spring, Summer or Fall.
It may all seem like a lot of effort — which is why most businesses will stick to December-only thanks. But by setting aside the time, getting the whole team involved and making it fun you’ll spread out the work and stand out from the crowd.
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