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What Customers Really Want for the Holidays

 

‘Tis the season to be jolly…

After a tough year, which no one could’ve foreseen as we counted down from 2019 into 2020, here we are again, at the cusp of another new year. So, as the holiday season is upon us, the big question is, “What do customers really want for the holidays?”

With this year’s holiday shopping looking quite different to the traditional December madness, consumers can no longer easily and safely simply run to the store for last-minute shopping, while most won’t be store-hopping until they find the perfect gift for their loved ones, but rather opting for the safest option- perhaps the gift of choice in a gift card.

A very different year for shoppers means you’ll have to engage with them differently, too, if you want to grab their attention and stand out among all the other new online brands they’ve discovered this year.

 

Some tips to attract customers this holiday season:

 

  • Offer them a special holiday promotion– who doesn’t love a freebee?
    • Offering your clients a small free gift this holiday could make all the difference. This could be in the form of a free gift-card for one of their favourite products from your store (tap into those valued insights).
    • Host a special series of exclusive classes which are only made available to your best customers-for free! – let them know that you value their loyalty.
    • Host a grand prize draw on social media offering impressive gift giveaways- allow your best customers to enter their names into the draw if they’d like to participate and offer some exciting prizes- perhaps a free 3 month membership to an exclusive club.
  • Double their rewards points this festive season– customers love loyalty It’s to no surprise customers are more likely to make use of the stores/brands that offer them some form of return when they make a purchase.

How can they earn double the points? When they do any of these things (Wellnessliving, 2020):

    • Bring or refer a friend.
    • Leave a review about your business.
    • Share a positive social media post which includes your brand or store, or review of a recent experience.
    • Make purchases like renewing a membership, renting your equipment, or buying your merch.
    • Sign up for and attend your in-person, virtual, or on-demand services.
    • If they reach a milestone at your business like 100, 200, 500 classes, or more!

For insights on how to best design your rewards program, click here

 

  • Include thank you notes with purchases- This is probably the simplest and least expensive option – one that any business can easily incorporate into their sales process. Whether it’s a pre-printed “thank you” card slipped into the bag or a quick, personalised note penned at the bottom of a receipt (for instance, ‘Thank you so much for shopping with us, we hope you love the sweater!’). Saying thank you is a key step in building a good relationship with customers. Show your appreciation!
  • Discount offers- Discounts and coupons are a universally popular and effective means of showing customer appreciation. Slipping in a coupon for 20% off their next purchase can go a long way towards guaranteeing a repeat, or even lifelong, customer.   Again, a physical card or coupon is a tangible reminder that feels like a gift.
  • Product samples- Samples are a great value-add to bags and packages because:
    • Depending on the products you offer, vendors may offer free samples that you can pass on to your customers. A win-win for everyone!
    • Free samples are great for cross-selling and introducing customers to related products they may be curious about trying.
    • Combine a product sample with a coupon and you have a nearly irresistible offer!

Put some of the best strategies in place to help manage the avalanche of customer inquiries and help your support team stay stress free. Some of the key ideas include:

 

  • Drawing insights from past holiday trends- Your existing support strategy will not cut it. You need a different game plan for this special season. But before you jump into creating a support strategy, it is important to review trends, metrics, patterns from last year and the few months leading up to the holiday season.
  • Setting the right expectations with customers- As human beings we don’t think in absolutes; we think and make decisions on the basis of relativity (Freshdesk, 2020). When customers evaluate your service, they are relying on the expectations you’ve set to decide whether or not the service you provide is good. For example, when you say your first response time to support tickets is 3 hours, you are setting the expectation of a 3-hour reply time. And when you fall short, your CSAT goes down too.

 

Now, you’d think that not setting these expectations might be an easier way to deal with this situation. But that will only lead to bigger problems because as human beings our evaluation becomes easier when we have something to evaluate against. When you don’t set expectations, customers do not have a reference point to work with. They will create their own reference point which might end up being your competition’s service or product.

 

  • Being proactive on support channels- Wouldn’t it be so much easier for your customers if they didn’t have to wait in line for their problem to be solved? And in this season of cheer chaos, how do you cut through the noise and reach out to your customers proactively? Responding to and resolving customer issues is important.
    • Recording those issues and looking for any emerging problems is also equally important.Find a way to have all the issues recorded in one place. And make sure that everyone (whether or not they are a part of support team) has their attention focused on it.
    • Seek out customers to ask them for feedback.This is a great way to identify potential bugs or problems that other customers could be facing. You will be equipped with just the information you need to fix the problem. You will also be able to proactively reach out to customers and let them know that you are getting the issues fixed for them.
  • Automating support processes- It’s a given that automation can save a lot of time for your support agents, particularly during the holiday season. It’s a great way to keep your response times. It also helps you streamline your support process and reduce friction for the customer. By using canned responses and automating your helpdesk, you can get a lot done with least human intervention.

 

At the end of it all, making sure that you drive a positive customer experience is what will keep them coming back, pandemic or not. So, ensure that even during these challenging times, you are showing customers that you value them and what’s more is that they can count on you for great service.