Holidays are a good time to reach out to clients and customers
All of a sudden in the last week or so, my email inbox has been flooded with thank you notes from both small businesses and large where I am a client. And the notes are from the CEOs of these companies. While I may not have read every word of their very thoughtful letters, I couldnt help but be honored by them. After all, it is said that the very best two words you can say to an employee or a client are Thank you.
When I last wrote, I spoke about email tactics retailers currently use to attract repeat business from existing clients. In tough economic times, small businesses do need to focus their efforts on growth but it is also important to recognize that existing clients, who already know you, will continue to do business with you if they feel special. Thanking them for their business is a simple and special way.
I knew that when I saw the thank you letters in my inbox that there was a climate shift of sorts going on. Why did I all of a sudden this year have so many more thank you notes than in previous years? There are probably lots of reasons but a few are worth observing.
- Email addresses For the past several years, companies have made concerted efforts to request email addresses from clients. They use the addresses to confirm online orders, to push promotions and offers, and to facilitate customer service. What is different now is peoples acceptance of this and their willingness to provide the address. This is supported by the abilities to opt-out and to select different forms of communication. Suffice it to say that a clients email probably one of the most important pieces of information to have in your client list because it enables you to communicate quickly and with some degree of consistency. Ask for emails often and maintain their integrity.
- Customer engagement with the increased use of social media and also the increased amount of competition in almost every single industry or niche, it is extremely important for small businesses engage customers who have chosen to do business with you. Thanking them can be one way but seeking their opinion or a dialogue with them is an even more powerful way. It is bold to ask someone to review a product they just purchased from you and yet that boldness demonstrates confidence and commitment. Online retailers do this quite well and we can borrow their techniques for many other types of companies. Those include an easy to use web form for the review submission, a process to evaluate the review before it is posted and an acknowledgement of the review.
About the author
Andrea Cotter, President and Founder, ACotter Global Brands. Andrea coaches executives and teams helping them to put in place strategies and communications that will take them to the next level. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Communication at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
During a 30-year career at IBM Corporation, Andrea Cotter held many integrated marketing and communications roles for various IBM products and services and executive roles as Global Director of Linux and of Healthcare and Life Science Marketing. At UPMC in Pittsburgh, PA, Andrea was SVP of Communications, responsible for enterprise-wide brand marketing, advertising, clinical marketing and public relations. Most recently Andrea served as temporary President of a brand consultancy in New York, New York.