Ah Q4 — we’ve reached the end of 2017. Many of us would like to use this season as a time of reflection, of project post-mortem, to examine what we set out to achieve and how we scored. It should be a time for mindfulness, a time of meditation.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
The reality is you’ve got a checklist that would put Santa to shame. The end of the year rush is crammed with budgeting, planning, strategy sessions, meetings, holiday parties, and lots of red wine…and this is just your list, we haven’t even gotten to the folks that truly matter: your customers.
Simply “satisfying” your customers doesn’t have the same effect as engaging them and won’t grow your business. That’s just the plain truth.
So, how are you surprising and delighting your customers during this hectic season? Just as your wife expects a gift from you, she doesn’t necessarily expect you to knock her off her feet with a pair of diamond earrings or with that new [insert thoughtful gift] that she’s been really wanting, but didn’t ask for.
Great connection begins with deep empathy. You need to find out what matters most to your decision makers and customers. Understanding their frustrations, aspirations and values will give you the insight needed to gauge where your efforts are likely to have the greatest impact.
Here are a few quick tactics for engaging customers in the holiday season, as our gift to you…
What is your customer currently thinking and (more importantly) feeling?
In an ideal world, purchasing decisions would be guided primarily by rational thinking, however, as Gallup reports “customers form strong emotions about your company based on their experiences with your people — and those emotions strongly influence their buying decisions.”
So why not use the holiday season as a relationship building opportunity to strengthen your connection with customers or key accounts. What are their current feelings, frustrations and challenges? Demonstrate your commitment to the partnership by taking the time to ask questions and listen to their needs.
Are they frustrated with your shipping policy? Consider making it free during the holidays. Timid to renew because of budget constraints? Be creative with your pricing. Stressed? Send them a week’s worth of juice, or wine, or scotch. You get the idea.
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. -McKinsey
Is there an opportunity for you to talk or interact with them more deliberately?
Focus on what really matters. Once you know what motivates your customers, you’ll be able to address their concerns directly. One example involves a stressed out health services team focused on renewals in November. Knowing this and understanding their anxiety creates the opportunity to provide a resource guide of key messaging points to help alleviate their concerns — an unexpected gesture that helped empower them in an otherwise stressful month.
Is there a way for your brand to be top-of-mind going into the new year by doing something interesting, exclusive or distinctive for your customers?
When was the last time you were remarkable?
Stand out by being helpful. Maybe you have a standard customer check-in scheduled for this week. How can you delight and surprise your customer? Perhaps you know that your customer has an end of the year report due to their executive team. It’s a high stakes meeting that essentially summarizes their department’s value and worth from the previous 12 months. How do you think he or she is feeling right now and more importantly how can you be useful?
Your contact is likely stressed, working hard to prepare a presentation deck on top of other holiday season pressures, and doesn’t have the time that they normally would to dedicate to your scheduled call. This is a great opportunity go above and beyond. Be a bright spot in your customer’s day by gathering data points or insights about their performance over the past year (especially if it relates to your product or service!) — reinforce your value and leave the customer feeling warmth and gratitude towards your company.
Remember, this is all about your customer, not you. So be thoughtful. Tact and empathy are key here. The more you can make it about them, the better!
Take the time to listen, today. Great marketing begins and ends with customer empathy. By placing a focus on engagement, you can help your young business maintain high-quality relationships with the customers that you have acquired — and gain more in the new year!
Is your company already doing a great job with customer engagement? We’d love to hear about it! Learn more today about Jumpstart Foundry’s unique approach to investing in and supporting early-stage healthcare companies.