Whether or not you normally use direct mail to market your business, using your holiday greeting card as a marketing tool is marketing strategy number one! Always send industry specific cards to your customers, staff and vendors. It is the most effective marketing campaign you will ever launch.
1) Christmas cards are viewed as gifts. Cards are kept and typically displayed for an extended period of time. This happens for both business and home card recipients.
2) This only works if you are sending industry specific greeting cards. You want your card to stand out; to represent YOU and WHAT YOU DO. If you are a landscaper you want to send a landscaping holiday card. A card that says “LANDSCAPER”. This happens with the subject matter on the face of the card. If you send a clever card with Santa performing landscaping work, your card stands out. When your customer has friends over for the holidays they will see your card. “Hey, that’s a great card.” a friend might remark. “I was looking for a new landscaper, how do you like this company?“. And there you have it. Your card, together with your service, create an avenue for your satisfied customer to be your best salesman ever.
Top 4 ways to get your holiday cards noticed:
#1: Order industry specific cards so your customers visualize your company when they get your card.
#2: Add holiday graphics to your envelope imprint to make it festive and ensure the receiver recognizes it as a holiday card.
#3: Personalize equipment color to match what you use (blue trash truck, dark green portable, etc.).
#4: Add your company name or logo to the front of the card
Each letter within the title provides a clue to help improve our skills!
C U S T O M E R
C – Communicate regularly. Out of site; out of mind.
U- Understand your product or service. Your knowledge is a tool to ensure your effectiveness for customers.
S – Stay focused. Time management is key. Be kind but not chatty. Ensure your customer is heard and helped and then leave them be.
T – Terminology can be confusing. Be sure you speak using language that is clear and understandable for everyone.
O – Offer an apology. A sincere apology for your error, the error of your company or just a misunderstanding or frustrating experience lowers customer tension.
M – Make sure customers feel important and appreciated. Simply saying the phrase “thank you” or “welcome to…” is of no value if it’s obvious that you sound like it’s part of a script.
E – Everything you do or say is a reflection on your organization. Always be professional.
R – Review your tone, body language and the words you use. Be clear and positive.
S E R V I C E…
S – Smile – even if your customer isn’t physically in front of you. Your voice reflects this non-verbal communication and makes a big difference in your interaction.
E – Every customer deserves your undivided attention. Leave home at home and keep distractions at bay.
R – Respect your customers’ time: answer phones promptly. Don’t make customers explain a problem more than once or to more than one person; offer both automatic and “real people” avenues for callers when possible.
V – Value feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions and be willing to grow as a person and a company.
I – Identify common ground or common interests with your customer to humanize the relationship and improve interactions overall. Deep down, we’re all the same. We want to be understood and we want to be treated with respect.
C – Clarify and rephrase what customers say to ensure you understand their needs. Don’t make this sound scripted; do it so they know you are listening and will help manage their concern.
E – Empathy, patience and consistency. Provide the same high level of service to everyone.
SKILL #1: PATIENCE
They say “patience is a virtue“. They’re right! While we sometimes wish our customers would be more patient, it is important that WE understand that OUR patience with our customer is what really matters. Because without it, good customer service simply isn’t possible.
Your customers come in, or call, often when they are frustrated. Recognize and empathize with this frustration. You may have handled 5 calls about the same problem today but this person doesn’t know that and needs your assistance. This is their first interaction with you and possibly the first with your company. Keep that in mind and be mindful of your tone.
Ensure they feel your interested in – and focused on – what they are saying; and be sure to address their individual concerns. Don’t presume you know what they want when they start talking and either tune out or cut them off.
CUSTOMER TIP: Walk the walk. It’s unfair to expect a positive attitude and a good work ethic from your staff, if you complain about your customers or goof off at work. You may feel you’ve ‘paid your dues’ but you may have to pay far more if you can’t be the example your staff needs to see. We all hated it as kids “do as I say, not as I do”. As owners and management we must lead by example.
Is it anyone’s business what kind of car you drive or when you walk into work some days? No. You probably saved for years to get that car and maybe you didn’t leave the office until hours after your last employee did. But you want staff representing you and your business in a positive way. The choices we make have consequences. No matter who we are or how hard we work to get where we are.
CUSTOMER TIP: Words have meaning. At least, they should. Unfortunately more often than not, in this new age of slogans and gimmicks, mission statements and goal setting, companies forget to “say what they mean, and mean what they say”.
Just because your receptionist SAYS ‘thank you for calling’ to each customer before she speeds through the company name and the other phrase she’s required to say… doesn’t mean she’s actually appreciative for that customer’s call. It’s obvious in the robotic, memorized cadence in how the words are delivered with each call. Making someone say something doesn’t force them to feel it.
The real key is to help employees understand why customers are important. Our purpose for coming to work each day must be more than to get a paycheck at the end of the week. Employees need to understand that it is a customer that actually pays our checks, keeps the lights on and truly holds the cards for any given business.
Without our customers coming back, we face the harsh reality facing many companies these days – the doors closing, families losing jobs, owners losing even more.
CUSTOMER TIP: Educate! Whether you provide a product or service, educating your customers on the process of working with you helps them feel more comfortable with you and more confident in your company.
Selling a product: Don’t just hand them an owner’s manual, go over as many features as you can, personally. Your product, be it a car, a house, a set of tires or a new air conditioner, could be the best on the planet; if your customer doesn’t understand how to make it function properly, they are frustrated – and YOU lose in the end.
Providing a service: Help your customer know what to expect. Will they receive a call, something in the mail? Are there things that might help them feel more at ease? Whether it is a surgery, a pending court appearance, new hair style or tune up, verbally take them through the process and share any information that someone receiving this service for the first time, might not anticipate.
Follow up, updates and quick communication help your customers know you care. And of course, industry specific holiday cards and thank you cards are a great way to show your appreciation and to stay in touch with your customers during times they may not be doing business with you.
For other tips check back here or like us on Facebook . We’ll be adding new tips on how to keep your customers throughout the rest of the year.
Industry specific holiday cards and thank you cards are a great way to show your appreciation and to stay in touch with your customers during times they may not be doing business with you.
For other tips check back here or like us on Facebook . We’ll be adding new tips throughout the rest of the year.
CUSTOMER TIP 1: Never take your customers for granted. There are always others that can, and will, do what you do. Sometimes for less, sometimes faster, sometimes just in a manner that shows they care more about the customer that used to be yours. Customers are not a distraction from other work to be done. Customers are the reason you are in business. Be sure you treat them as such.
The $64,000 question… How do I keep my customers? Right now, more than ever, holding on to the customers we have is priority number one. Believe the adage, it costs 5X more to gain new customers than hold onto current customers.
So what’s the answer? We keep them, in part, by ensuring they know we care about them and their business. Just like at home we often take those around us for granted and we forget to say please or thank you. Giving a customer a simple “thanks for continuing to do business with us; we really appreciate it” goes a long way.
Regular communication and building a relationship is key to creating customer loyalty. We all know it’s true: Out of site, out of mind. Don’t let your customers forget you or soon they’ll be someone else’s customers. For many, a quick – but personal – card is a perfect way to stay in touch. Cards are seen as personal mail – not solicitations. But don’t be misled – the ability of a greeting card to market you and your organization is enormous. The cost is small, and whether you mail them or hand them out personally, the receiver is excited to see it. The mere size makes it clear it is not a bill, not junk mail, but a greeting card.
As the holidays approach, don’t fool yourself into thinking that sending cards to your customers, vendors and staff isn’t important. It is! A greeting card is a gift. The exchange of greeting cards is one of the most popular and widely accepted customs in the United States. Sharing that tradition with customers shows them just how special they are to you. And again, it is an effective marketing tool for your business.
But of course, all cards are not equal in their marketing effectiveness. How many pretty wreath cards or winter scenes do you think your customer will receive? To market effectively you must stand out from the pack. You must give your customer something that will make them take pause, smile and think of you.
Don’t miss the opportunity to market your business with an industry specific Christmas card. A clever card that depicts your industry in a positive way ensures your customer associates that card and the smile on their face with your company. Adding your logo or company name to the front of the card tops the deal. House of Cards, and www.Cardscheaper.com provides inexpensive but clever and unique cards for many industries and allow numerous options to best suit the needs of each customer.