How to maintain engagement after client holiday gifts have been sent
Are you feeling stressed out this holiday season? From long to-do lists and the recession, we get it. It’s likely your team is facing a tighter budget and more pressure to keep customers engaged and spending with your company. A common way to keep clients engaged at this time of year is to send year-end gifts, but what happens next? Use these tips to maintain engagement after the holidays.
Thank your customers throughout the year
Do you have a formalized client appreciation program at your company? One of the easiest ways to keep a customer engaged and loyal to your brand is to continually recognize them and thank them throughout the year.
By creating a customer experience focused on gratitude, you can help improve cross-selling and upselling, retention, and satisfaction.
Here are some opportunities to lead with appreciation throughout the year:
- Look for opportunities to celebrate Customer Appreciation Day (May 21st) and other fun holidays related to your industry. As you’re considering how to celebrate these days, keep the benefit and value to your customers (vs. your company) at the forefront.
- Celebrate customer milestones! Depending on your industry, it’s likely you have specific customer occasions you can celebrate. Whether it’s a subscription anniversary, program achievement, or entering into a new tier of engagement, you can enhance the customer experience when you do something special for these milestones.
- Bring customers in to celebrate your company milestones. For example, if you’re celebrating a big anniversary or you’ve completed an initiative that was led by your brand community, thank them for their support and involvement in helping you get to that point.
Reward customer engagement
There are a few ways you can approach rewarding customer engagement and hundreds of ways to deliver this reward. Whether through deals, discounts, benefits, or gifts, here are some good programs to implement.
Loyalty programs are an effective way to keep customers engaged with your company. In fact, 84% of customers are more likely to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program. These programs are a good way to provide deals, discounts, and exclusive benefits that encourage someone to continuously engage with your brand.
Another great way to reward customer engagement is through referral programs. Customers generated via referrals are 18% more loyal, have a 16% higher lifetime value, and have a 13.2% higher spending rate. Successful referral programs will incentivize your current clients to bring new customers to you and entice prospective new customers to do business with you.
Lastly, it’s never a bad idea to reward your most valuable customers. On average, the top 1% of customers spend 5x as much as the remaining 99% of clientele. These individuals could be your highest spenders, greatest advocates, high profile clients, or based on another criterion important to your business. It could be your top 1% or top 10%; you’ll know what’s right for your VIP program.
Build a fan community
If you’re able to build up an active fan community, you can use that to keep your customers engaged with your brand and each other. Depending on your industry, you may cultivate a community in different places. Often, brands will build active communities online through social media platforms or forums. Events are another common place to build and grow communities.
When you dedicate resources and time to building a fan community, you’re helping empower fans to connect and advocate for your company. This is vital to any business as we all know people trust people more than brands. In fact, 76% of people trust content from other individuals more than what companies produce.
A fan community will help keep your customers engaged with your company and can generate insights you can put to use to better your customer experience and offerings. A great way to put your fan community to use for you is to encourage fans to provide feedback and reviews. These can help you identify what’s going well and what can be improved so that you can improve retention rates among your clients.
Another great thing about active fan communities is that individuals in these groups are more likely to want to engage with you. This could take the form of supplying testimonials you can use to market your business, advocating on behalf of your business, or supporting other customers who may have questions they can answer.
As you’re building and managing these communities, take the time to recognize those fans who are contributing to your group the most. You can help nurture them into super fans and will likely reap revenue and retention-related benefits from doing so.
Invest time in reaching out to inactive customers
So far, we’ve focused on keeping already active customers engaged after you send holiday gifts, but what about inactive customers?
I once made a pretty hefty purchase from an online beauty retailer and actively engaged with them for a couple of months before I just stopped. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them as a brand, but because I had acquired so many products that I needed to use before spending more. From their point of view, I may as well have just fallen off the face of the earth, but roughly a year after my last purchase, something awesome happened. They reached out!
Not only did they have an individual customer representative reach out to see how I was doing, but they also offered to send me a complimentary pack of sample products to show me what I was missing.
Can you guess what I did?
If you’re thinking I ghosted them, you’re sorely mistaken. I responded and received a well-stocked package of samples in the mail. While I didn’t immediately purchase additional products, I did immediately become re-engaged with the brand and started recommending their products to my friends and sharing their social posts with my network. And you can bet, once my stash of supplies has dwindled, I’ll be purchasing from them again.
So, if you aren’t already, take the time to reach out to inactive customers. Send a personalized note from an actual person, and you never know, that may just be the nudge they need to reactivate their relationship with you and amplify your brand.
Deliver good customer service
The last tip we have for keeping customers engaged is to provide good customer service. It seems obvious, right? This isn’t a new concept, but it’s something that some companies still really struggle to get right.
Today, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for great customer service. This means a sophisticated customer service program can provide the value someone needs to spend more on your offering compared to your competition.
Here are some tips for delivering great customer service:
- Invest in technology. Some tools can help you automate customer service tasks, manage support tickets, ask for feedback, and provide an analysis of how you’re doing. If you’re not already, invest in one of these tools.
- Dedicate a role on your team to social media community management. As your company scales, you will probably need at least one resource that solely focuses on providing great customer care and engagement through your social media channels. This is important as the majority of people expect brands to respond to their inquiries within 24 hours on social media.
- Keep your interactions polite and friendly. While you may think you’re dealing with someone who’s in the wrong, ultimately, the approach of "the customer is always right" will help you retain business and increase sales. In your interactions with disgruntled customers, always keep a polite tone even if on the inside you’re screaming.
- Show gratitude. Thanking your customers for their patience and bringing an issue to your attention is a great way to help diffuse tension and keep them invested in finding a solution with you. In instances where the customer experience was very bad or a resolution isn’t easy to come by, consider showing appreciation for them with a gift.
- Don’t forget to follow up. While you may think your job is done once you’ve resolved an issue, a great customer service program also incorporates follow-up. Say someone reached out to you about a broken product that you replaced. Consider following up a few weeks after the fact to see how they’re enjoying their product and if they have any questions.
As you continue to improve your customer engagement tactics, keep these tips in mind to keep the momentum going post-holiday gift sends. Visit our blog for more insights on gifting occasions, best practices for sending gifts to your customers, and Loop & Tie updates.