‘Tis that time of the year again – the season to be jolly, the occasion for merry-making and creating unforgettable Christmas memories with friends, family, and loved ones.
Year in and year out, we also bear witness to merchants and retailers who seem to fall into a holiday rut: unimaginative freebies, same discounts, same Santa decors, white trees and reindeer with elves. What may have worked spectacularly well during many Christmases past might be in need of an update, one that keeps up with today’s wired, plugged in world.
Don’t be one of those businesses that always go back to those old reliable standby’s. Get those creative juices flowing and dial up the fun factor with these amusing ideas that are sure to level up the customer experience this holiday season.
1. Use robots to increase service staff during the holidays.
The hardware store Lowes is ramping up its customer service staff in time for the Christmas season, and they’re not the usual clueless teenagers or disinterested substitute workers. They’re using robots to make up for a lean store staff. A product of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, these multi-lingual, customer-centric robots can roll right up to a customer, ask what you need, and remotely connect with expert employees from other locations to answer specific questions when needed. They come equipped with a 3D scanning technology that can help clients identify a product, tell you how much it costs, and help you find it in the store.
2. Stalk tweeters and give them what they want.
Don’t do it in a creepy way, of course: do what the team at a company called UserTesting did for one of their tweeting customers. Pay attention to a random tweet that expresses some kind of craving or desire, and respond to it unexpectedly.
In UserTesting’s case, a customer tweeted this: think getting hooked on quality beef jerky was one of the worst financial decisions I’ve ever made. It’s priced like an illegal drug, lol
The company one day asked the tweeter what his home address was, and then promptly delivered the beef jerky the client so desired. Even though the company was not affiliated with the product at all, they found a way to delight a customer in the most unexpected way.
3. Send handwritten notes.
There’s a reason we’re seeing a rise in calligraphy workshops and watercolor classes these days: we’re looking for the tactile nature of doing something from scratch, of infusing our personalities in the handmade things we’ve created.
In the same token, while it’s easier and faster to send a batch email to your mailing list, there’s nothing quite like receiving a handwritten note from someone expressing heartfelt gratitude for helping their business in some capacity. Do you remember the last time you got a snail mail that wasn’t trying to sell you something? This is why personalized notes stand out immediately for clients, and the extra time you spent crafting that message will earn their loyalty for years to come.
4. Send a personalized treat.
You’d have to know your client’s preferences fairly well to enable you to give them something they really want. Is she a fitness buff? Maybe sending cookies or a Krispy Kreme gift card might not be appropriate. Does he have a sweet tooth? Refer to the previous suggestion. Is you customer a nature lover? Then a terrarium might be a delightful package that they’d love to get at their doorstep.
The key is to really know what they like and give it to them. That sounds easy, but you’d be surprised how infrequently many businesses actually delight their loyal customers in this manner.
5. Make a contribution to a charity in their honor.
What better way to get into the spirit of giving than to do some philanthropy in your client’s name? Reach out to select customers and inform them what your intention is. There is no shortage of charitable institutions that you can contribute to during the holiday season. From tree planting initiatives, to housing assistance, to food donations and clothing grants, giving a gift that continues to give to the less fortunate is way to benefit not just your business, but those who need help the most.
6. Give exclusive deals to Social Media savvy customers.
You can use Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms to provide exclusive announcements, special promotions, or offering rewards points to your followers. Encourage clients to give suggestions, contribute ideas or to spread any positive experiences they’ve had through their digital channels and reward them for doing so.
The common denominator among these suggestions follow two simple premises: take the time to get to know your customers well, and respond to their needs in the most unexpected ways. However fast technology evolves through the years, genuine service and a personal touch will never get old.