The holiday shopping season is upon us, and those who forge new customer habits through compelling customer experiences will win both the sales and the relationships. Forecasts anticipate that consumers will shell out more than $630 billion dollars between now and Christmas -- and there are specific ways to make it a cheerful and profitable one! Below are three ways to make this holiday a happy one for all!
Related: 3 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty
1. Create the 'Santa Claus' effect.
Let the features of your holiday customers’ experiences mimic those of jolly old St. Nick himself. Evaluate the anticipated experiences you are creating by using the following criteria:
- Will the online experience feel happy, fun-loving and joyful?
- Will customer service be as easy to find as what Santa Claus put under your holiday tree?
- Will the experience make your customers smile, or better yet, grin, swoon and chuckle?
- Will you follow up to help customers think about you all year long, not just at the holidays?
- Will the experience have an air of joyful enchantment to it?
Customers have abundant choices today, in an era when price and availability are no longer the sole criteria for customer selection and loyalty. The businesses that win this year’s sale will be the ones that add value to the customer experience.
2. Open the gift, with surprise and delight.
We all enjoy the mystery and intrigue of opening a gift with our name on the tag. Let your customer experiences carry with it the compelling charm of a holiday present, by asking yourself:
- Will the service experience feel magical, like those not-yet unwrapped surprises on Christmas morning?
- Will the experience have colorful sensory appeal like that of holiday decorations?
- Will you personalize or “monogram” the experiences for your customers -- and how?
- Do your return policies demonstrate deep customer trust and obvious respect?
- Does the experience reflect an attitude of generosity, rather than one of greed or manipulation?
Ideally, this part of the equation has been in the works for months, if not years. However, there is also no time like the present to start creating exceptional experiences for those you serve. A one-time holiday opportunity to wow your customer could lead to a long-term customer and brand advocate.
3. Remember that joyful experiences require joyful people.
Joyful people are infectious. Their upbeat, optimist attitude can elevate the delight of all those around them. Let all face-to-face, ear-to-ear and click-to-click experiences reflect the warmth of a holiday carol, by asking yourself:
- Do your remote experiences equal those of stellar face-to-face ones?
- Are your chat rooms as gleeful as the rooms housing Santa’s elves working on your special present?
- Are your contact centers populated with (nice, not naughty) high-energy, fun-loving employees?
- Are your self-service options crafted with an obvious partnership philosophy?
- Is it super-easy to reach and talk with one of “Santa’s helpers"?
- Are all channels “decorated” the same way, creating trust through consistency?
Oftentimes, the softer side of a company's culture is viewed as just a nice "extra" to sales and marketing operations. However, today’s customer continues to express himself -- or herself -- with dollar votes.
The fourth quarter this year is going to be an interesting one because those unwise retailers who resist focusing on bettering the customer experience may just -- come the new year -- find themselves packing up their office suites, along with the holiday decorations.