When we create experiences for our customers and clients, we create memories that are remembered fondly and are shared through stories. Small anecdotes that carry our reputation beyond our current 'network' into the hearts and minds of others.
This is powerful because it raises awareness of who we are, what we do and how we conduct ourselves. It is told through others, through 'word of mouth' which is the most effective way being promoted as when people being told stories, they don't feel like they are being sold to.
It's more natural, organic and authentic as it comes with the endorsement of the person telling the story.
So with this mind I wanted to talk about how this time of year is perfect opportunity to enhance your customer experience of your brand, deepen your customer relationships and provide a timely boost to your Christmas coffers.
He's making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty and nice.
With Christmas coming up, it's a perfect opportunity to say thank you and to look forward to 2017. By giving your customers an unexpected gift, they will be wowed and flattered by how much you appreciate them.
This gesture relies on the 'Law of Reciprocity' and will not only get them thinking about all you can achieve together next year, but also makes them feel obligated to stay working with you.
A Personal touch
As with every gift, it's important to put some time into considering what they will appreciate and making it something that is unique to you and your relationship with them. Maybe you have a mutual love of certain movies or share an 'in-joke' that only you both understand.
Make it a gift that lasts long in the memory and is genuinely appreciated, so that every time they use it, they are reminded of you.
Gifting at scale
If you want to give out loads of gifts, then they should align with your brand values so there is consistency within your branding. This way you are able to maintain a meaningful and relevant connection, without having to go to the trouble of hand picking every gift.
A good example of something that can be scaled, yet feels very personal is wine. As there is a story to every bottle, find wines that your clients will like or find something they can relate to in the story of the wine.
Thanking the most important ones
Write handwritten notes to the most significant customers / clients. If you don't know who they are, do a quick Pareto 80/20 analysis of your business to see who are the most influential 20% who bring you 80% of your business.
How can you provide this service to others?
As well as this being a very effective strategy for deepening your relationships with your own customers, why not reach out to your own clients and offer them the same service?
Putting thought into how you can help them is part of your own branding that deepens your customer relationship as it is the sort of unique gesture that they will really appreciate and remember for a long time.
A good example of this is how my friend and client The Cornish Vintner is able to sell huge amounts of wine to clients such as banks who normally wouldn't need his services. But now the banks and many more are looking for a way to connect with their customers and his wines are a perfect way to do that.
Not only have you been able to say thank you to your favourite ones, but you have been able to help all of your customers and made money in the process. A definite win/win if ever there was one.
Give to customers, then give for them.
It feels great to give gifts that others will enjoy regardless, but to be able to offer that to others and use that as a meaningful business opportunity is shrewd. But always make sure that the way you conduct yourself and the gifts that you choose is true to your brand values and personality.
You can give gifts at any time of the year. Take a look at your calendar and choose meaningful dates and prepare in advance. Dates to consider include: Client birthdays, Business dates, Seasonal Holiday, Anniversaries, Pop Culture dates from films, music and TV shows.
Your Client Working relationship.
Breakdown your client on-boarding process and pick out key moments - Who helped you win the business? Can you offer to take them out for lunch mid way through or buy them a virtual coffee?
And remember, once you've put your own business through this system, put your clients through it too and see how you can help them out in a similar way.