Whether it’s a loved one or a customer, this is the time of year to pause and consider whether we … [+]
Valentine’s Day is a major shopping holiday. Retailers will reap $20 billion in sales by the time the holiday is over. Last year I wrote about how to show your customers a little love for Valentine’s Day. This year, and I’d like to follow up on that article with some facts you might find interesting, along with some commentary from my friend Anand Janefalkar, founder and CEO of UJET. Based on the numbers, Valentine’s Day is big business. Consider these Valentine’s Day stats from www.MuchNeeded.com.
· Of that $20 billion in sales, almost $4 billion will be spent on dining and going to the movies.
· 20% of people will buy a Valentine’s Day treat for their pet.
· $1.5 billion will be spent on Valentine’s Day cards. (I’m happy for Hallmark!) Surprisingly, only 15% of people exchange cards.
· 18% of all spending will be on jewelry.
· 18% will be spent on clothing.
· 35% will be spent on flowers. It probably comes as no surprise that roses are the most popular. Fun fact: In Roman mythology, roses are the favorite flower of Venus, the goddess of love.
There are plenty of fun stats and facts, and perhaps you’ll be among those buying dinners, flowers and a card for the one you love. But, getting back to customers … how can we express our love and appreciation toward them? Janefalkar shared a few tips on how we can do just that. By the way, it doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day. You should show your customers the love they deserve 365 days a year. Here are his ideas along with my commentary:
· Make it personal: If all you do is sell your customers your products and services, you’re missing a big opportunity. Most customers enjoy having a “connection” with the people they do business with. They want to feel like the brands they love value them as well, not just for their business, but as an individual.
· Go the extra mile: In the customer support world, imagine if the support teams not only resolved the issue a customer called about, but also proactively looked for other opportunities to help. I had a great experience with my cellular provider when the rep said, “I’m looking at your account and based on your usage, we could put you on another plan that will save you money.” Yes, that really happened! It was a pleasant surprise that endeared me to the brand even more. Any time you can proactively provide suggestions or recommendations to help customers get the most out of your product or service is a win for both you and the customer.
· Be responsive: Customers don’t like to wait. It’s a waste of their time. The company that makes customers wait on hold for extended periods of time or doesn’t return calls and emails promptly is treading in dangerous waters. It’s disrespectful. Properly staff your support team to make sure they can respond quickly. You want your customers to say, “I love doing business with them. When I call, I don’t wait a long time—and they are always so quick to get back to me.”
· Let customers be themselves: Love your customers for who they are and how they like to do business with you. This is about flexibility. Consider how you communicate with your friends and family. You may call, text, instant message, send videos and more. Janefalkar says, “Create an experience that allows customers to communicate with you in the same way that they communicate with each other.”
Whether it’s a loved one or a customer, this is the time of year to pause and consider whether we show enough love to the people we care about. The truth is, you can always show more love and find creative ways to do so. In addition to that special someone, don’t forget about your customers this Valentine’s Day. If you don’t, it could cost you—not only in revenue but in customer happiness and loyalty!