It's so hard to believe, but it is almost the holiday season again! Fall colors once again signal the coming of Thankgiving, snow and Christmas here in the Midwest.
Around this time of year, I start getting my gift list together for family and friends. But, shouldn't we, as business owners and employees also think about what to get our customers? Not the tired old buckets of candy and popcorn, but something that will really make a lasting impact.
Here are some gift ideas that will keep your customers coming back for more long after the holiday season:
A Handwritten Thank You Note
We have all been guilty of taking the lazy route with holiday cards. For example, I have gotten Christmas cards from suppliers with "Employees of Company X" pre printed on them. I can honestly say, I take a glance and they go in the trash can.
Ask your customer service staff to take a few extra minutes and hand write a note on the card before it is sent expressing appreciation for the business. Better yet, have them make note of a favorite conversation or joke between them and the customer that really made them laugh. These personal touches will mean the world to the recipient and make your holiday cards stand out above the rest.
A Holiday Open House
If you have a lot of local customers, invite them in for a cup of eggnog and some Christmas cookies. This is an inexpensive and informal way to get to know your customers better (and for them to get to know you better as well)! You could hand out recipe books to attendees with your company logo and recipes submitted by your employees. People want to get together this time of year, so take advantage of the good cheer, and open your doors!
A Donation to a Worthy Cause In Their Name
This is another way to make you card stand out. Make a donation in the name of your customer to a local charity. This is a win win for your local charities and you as it shows your giving spirit to your customers. And, make sure to hand write the note, no cheating on this one either!
A Phone Call
Everyone is busy this time of year, and it is much easier to shoot an email to someone and then copy that same email to other customers. Fight the urge to email though. Pick up the phone and call to personally thank your customer for his or her business. Again, this could and should be delegated to customer service or sales staff (whoever is the primary contact with the customer), although I believe that top management should select some key customers and call them personally or take them to dinner to signify the company's commitment to the relationship.
A Happy New Year's Gift
This year, really think outside the box and consider sending a Happy New Year Gift. Maybe a desk calendar or mouse pad saying "Here's to a successful 2016!" with your logo. Gifts at Christmas really get lost in the shuffle, but if you wait and send something after the New Year, it will get noticed. In this case, by the way, I definitely think the previous suggestion should be taken as well. You don't want to let your awesome customers think you forgot about them!
The key to true customer satisfaction is consistently delivering a quality part on time at a price the market will bear. However, you would be amazed how far a little extra TLC goes during the holiday season!