No matter what type of business you’re in, the holiday season is an important time to connect and deepen relationships with clients and customers. But this holiday season poses some unique challenges due the COVID-19 pandemic, with many holiday events, such as parties, likely to be nixed.


We asked customer experience experts for suggestions on how to show your best customers appreciation during this unique holiday season; here are five ideas:


1. Choose a meaningful gift.

If you’re sending gifts to your best clients, consider personalizing them based on their unique interests, says Shep Hyken, a customer service and experience expert. Is your customer a wine lover? Does she have a favorite hobby? What gift would really make her day, month, year? Here’s one thing not to do: Don’t send them a gift with your company logo on it. “Sending a logoed item is about marketing your company, not about offering something special for your customer,” Hyken says. Instead, he suggests sending a gift to a customer with the customer’s business logo—assuming they have a business. “If I use a wine opener with a logo, I want to use one with my logo,” he says. “But I won’t forget who sent it to me.” 


2. Host a special virtual event.

It’s hard to recreate the traditional holiday party in the virtual world, so don’t even bother, Hyken says. Instead, use that budget to offer an amazing virtual experience. Hyken has seen companies offer virtual private concerts and mentalism magic shows. One realtor team invited clients to a virtual comedian cocktail hour, and over 100 people attended. “Hosting these virtual holiday experiences helps you bring some fun and joy into your clients’ lives,” he says. “It’s something that they’ll remember.”


3. Use technology creatively. 

“The pandemic has led to a huge increase in texting between small businesses and customers,” says Dan Gingiss, a customer experience speaker and coach. While these texts are often used to remind customers of appointments and keep them updated on work progress, he maintains, “there’s nothing wrong with sending a text around the holidays saying how much you appreciate your customer.”


Hyken likes sending personalized videos using BombBomb. “I can send individual videos to clients, wear a silly hat for the holidays, and just spread some cheer,” he says.


4. Send a personalized card.

The days of sending generic holiday cards to your clients’ offices may be over. Consider instead sending a personalized card to their home, Gingiss suggests. Felt and Postable let you select cards to mail and add a personalized message, while Punkpost offers personalized artist-designed cards. “For under $10 (including U.S. postage), an artist creates a beautiful personalized card,” Gingiss says. “You can even add confetti or gift certificates to the envelope.”


Lynn Miner-Rosen, who runs the online career coaching membership community ADHD Job Squad, sends a welcome card from Punkpost to every new member and plans to send them to her clients this holiday season. “It makes me happy to think that my clients are getting something in the mail that brightens their day,” she says. 


5. Connect—and show empathy.

Some clients and customers may have experienced a tough year, financially or emotionally. What they may appreciate most of all is compassion, empathy and help. The best way to show appreciation to your customers this holiday season is to ask your customers how they’re doing and how you can help them—no strings attached,” says Jeanne Bliss, a customer experience consultant. Bliss has been setting up small roundtable conversations on Zoom with her clients to understand their concerns and provide ideas.


Now more than ever, your customers need to feel appreciated—don’t let this holiday season pass without showing you care.

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