Customer Care Beyond the Holidays
- Building customer trust. Genuine gratitude, not sales pitches, fosters customer trust.
- Holiday season insight. Authentic “thank you” notes impact more than promotional emails.
- Gratitude practices. Thoughtful gifts and active listening strengthen customer relationships.
It is that time of year when we look at what we are grateful for and, of course, put things on our wish list for things we want. We often discuss the holidays that stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as the “holiday season.” A time to share with family, to give thanks, and be happy with all we have while also giving to those closest to us.
Let’s take a look at some things that can help and hurt building trust with customers.
Year-End Review: Urgency Meets Gratitude
For many businesses, it is the same thing. Assess the business, be grateful for the success and see where you still want to see more. Much of what is done during this period is much like the rest of the year, but with added urgency and putting together a view of the upcoming year.
We look at numbers, create forecasts, set budgets and make plans. All of this is done while making the last push for sales to close out the year while hopefully making plans for a little time off to spend with family and friends or just to escape for a short period of time.
Holiday Emails: Gratitude or Marketing?
Too often, there is the reality that we are “thanking” our customers by sending a marketing email to make one of those end-of-the-year sales or reminding them of the special deal made “just for our valued customers.” I get plenty of those. In fact, from Wednesday to Friday surrounding Thanksgiving I probably had over 100 emails in my personal account “thanking me” and giving me exclusive access to a Black Friday deal. But are these tactics really building trust with customers?
In an amusing twist, even my business emails had a set of exclusive post-Thanksgiving special offers.
Related Article: Building a Gold Standard for Consumer Trust
Retail Email Stands Out with Genuine Thanks
Through all of those promotional and marketing emails that were “thanking me for being a customer” I had one that stood out to me. It was simple, it said “A moment of thanks,” that was it.
When it comes to the customer journey, whether it is about the customer experience or the employee experience, it doesn’t always have to be about upsell or revenue maximization. Sometimes it should simply be about gratitude.
Related Article: How Brand Trust and Customer Loyalty Are Won and Lost
4 Ways for Building Trust With Customers and Showing Gratitude
Beyond a customer feedback loop, your customer experience strategy should also be about being thankful for your customers. There are many ways to show thanks. While it might not be sending all your customers a plate of cookies, there are some simple and meaningful ways to say “Thank You” that a customer will remember.
Here are four that any business should be able to do:
- Write a letter. Just as that retailer did with me, send a sincere note of thanks to your customers. It can be by email, but if you are able to do it, hand-written notes also make a big impression. It can be simple, just four words did it for me. Of course, you can also go into greater detail. For large B2B accounts where you have a close relationship, add specific detail about what you’re grateful as a way of building trust with customers.
- Be an active listener. This can take many forms. You certainly don’t want to have customers calling into your contact center just to talk, but you do have ways to listen through channels from which you should be listening. For example, many brands look to a social media analysis to “listen” to customers, but is it really active listening?
In a Voice of the Customer program, active listening includes being able to respond individually and actually responding to online ratings and reviews. It isn’t just about responding to negative feedback; it should also include being grateful to those that give you positive reviews. Genuine thanks, and not an automatic response.
- Give a thoughtful gift. This can be complicated. Too often, that gift can look like a marketing ploy. A five-dollar coupon off a fifty-dollar purchase is not a gift — it’s a promotion. There are ways, however. If you are a B2B-focused organization, it might be a thank you meal or a cup of coffee. Even at a retail level, it could be a small gift of thanks at the store — perhaps a branded tchotchke (limited supply only of course).
- Offer your help. This one can backfire if you make it more about marketing than giving thanks. We often give thanks to our clients by just providing an extra level of service, helping them build something new or breathing new life into how they deploy our customer experience software platform across all their customer experience touchpoints. It may seem self-serving, but we often do this without any obligation as a way of showing our appreciation for them.
Giving thanks and building trust with customers can be very easy, no matter your business. Since you made it to the end, I will say Thank You for reading my last blog of the year as I take a little time to rush through end-of-the-year activities.
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