It's expected that you recognize and thank your loyal customers over the holiday season. However, this task can be difficult when trying to come up with a creative way to not get lost in the holiday shuffle. Here are some ideas to stand out from the crowd when thanking your customers for their business.
Send a personal card: Sending cards seems like a simple task, but walk into any business over the holiday season and you'll see their basket of hundreds of cards from people like you thanking them for their business. If you do send a card, be sure to follow these simple rules:
1. Make it personal. Computer generated cards without a signature, or with a computer generated signature are obvious. This shows you didn't take the time to personally thank your customer. By simply adding a handwritten note, you show they're not just one of many.
2. Be careful not to offend. Wrong addresses, misspellings of names on the address label, and sending a Christmas card to someone who celebrates Hanukah are all examples of ways you can offend a customer.
3. Make it stand out. Some companies have hundreds or thousands of cards that need to be sent. Different shapes, unique designs and something specific to your business are different ways you can be sure your card will be noticed.
Offer special promotions or discounts: Why not offer customers a special deal over the holidays in appreciation for their business? Some businesses bundle products that didn't sell over the year and give those as gifts. Special promotions for "customers only" make them feel appreciated and still benefit your business.
Give a unique gift: Although cheese and sausage trays are great, they are also quite common gift ideas. These are nice gifts that the entire staff can enjoy and a good way to show your thanks. Just remember, if you do give a gift for an entire staff to enjoy, be sure you deliver it personally and hand it to your main customer contact. Shipping a gift without the personal contact can easily get lost in the shuffle, and you want to be sure your customer knows you made the effort. Think outside the box if you're giving a gift and you really want to be noticed.
Host an event: Yes, people are busy during the holidays, but if you plan a customer appreciation holiday party with the right draw, you'll have a great opportunity to both thank and stay in front of your customer.
Just remember, playing it safe over the holidays and just doing what you've always been doing may leave your business on the bottom of the card pile. Give your customer appreciation some additional thought and prove that you truly do appreciate their business.
- Tracy Williams-Prince is the marketing manager for Express Convenience Centers, a division of U.S. Venture Inc. She can be reached at TWilliams-Prince@usoil.com.