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Making Your Business Stand Out During the Holidays
  • 21 November 2018
  • Rebecca Delaney

Making Your Business Stand Out During the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful, hectic time for you and your customers. It doesn’t help that so many businesses are clamoring for customers’ attention and their holiday shopping dollars. In a time when most consumers are inundated with sales messages, how do you make your business stand out? How do you convince customers to shop with you?

The answer does not necessarily lie in more marketing dollars, but in becoming the resource that customers rely on to help their lives run a little smoother during this joyful yet crazy season. As is the case any time of the year, providing superb customer service is the best way to get return clients and powerful referrals that will help carry your business into the New Year.

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The evidence shows just how important customer service is. According to a survey that came out earlier this year, large and small businesses lost $75 billion in business due to poor customer service. The main complaint among customers in the survey was not feeling appreciated.

Here are some tips to help make your customers feel the love and make your business stand out during the holiday season this year:

Exceed their expectations

The first step to great customer service is learning what the customer needs. Get to know your customer and listen carefully to what they are looking for this holiday season. When you deliver the product or service, be sure to go above and beyond what they were hoping to get. This commitment to service will help drive customer loyalty and referrals down the road.

Reward referrals when they do happen. You can thank customers who refer you with a small gift, such as a gift card for their favorite local coffee shop or a locally sourced food item (e.g., local honey, chocolatier or candy maker). The cost is minimal, but the rewards are great for your business and for the relationships formed with your customers.

Create special moments

In their book The Power of Moments authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath describe a Southern California hotel that has a popsicle hotline. When a guest picks up the red phone by the pool, the call goes straight to the popsicle hotline, where guests can order a popsicle in their favorite flavor. A hotel employee then delivers the popsicle poolside on a silver tray at no charge.

The authors use this example to illustrate how a business can create a "defining moment." The popsicle costs for the hotel are minimal, but the happiness the guest experiences, and then later shares with his or her friends, is immeasurable for a business.

When someone does business with you this holiday season, try and create one of these "defining moments." Throw in a small token, such as some Christmas candy, a small scented candle or a moisturizer sample, in with their gift. Another way to a customer's heart during the holidays? Free gift wrap services. Taking wrapping off their "to-do" list is a sure-fire way to get repeat customers during the holiday rush.

These actions may not cost your business much, but they do go a long way in putting a smile on customers' faces, making it more likely they will recommend your business to their friends and family.

These small moments help create a loyal customer base and build on the trust your customers feel toward your business and services.

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Add a personal touch

Take the time to handwrite some holiday cards to long-standing clients wishing them a Happy New Year and thanking them for their business without trying to sell anything. Or, you could review customer data from the year and consider what you would recommend to a certain customer this holiday season based on their past purchasing history or hobbies. Write them a note to let them know a new mystery novel (or bottle of Champagne, brand of running shoes, etc.) is in stock that you think they will really enjoy it.

The personal touch that you provide is what makes your small business unique. Leverage the relationships you have with customers to your advantage. Customers will feel appreciated and valued, which makes them more likely to return to your business throughout the year—and into the next holiday season.

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