It’s the end of the year. As we’re winding down to the final weeks of 2016. Many of us are using this season as a time of reflection, of project post-mortem, to examine what we set out to achieve and how we scored. It’s a time for mindfulness, a time of meditation.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
The reality is you’ve got a checklist that would put Santa to shame. The end of the year rush is crammed with budgeting, planning, strategy sessions, meetings, holiday parties, and lots of red wine with smaller amounts of execution. And this is just the internal stuff, we haven’t even gotten to the folks that truly matter: your customers.
Simply "satisfying" customers doesn't have the same effect as engaging them and won’t grow your business. That’s just the plain truth.
How are you surprising and delighting your customers during this overextended, hectic season? Just as your wife expects a gift from you, she doesn’t expect you to knock her off her feet with a diamond tennis bracelet or with that new [insert thoughtful gift] that she’s been really wanting, but didn’t ask for.
Great healthcare marketing begins with deep customer empathy. You need to find out what matters to your decision makers and customers. Understanding their frustrations, aspirations and what matters most to them will give your marketing practice the insight needed to gauge where your efforts are likely to have the greatest impact.
Here are a few quick tactics for engaging customers in the holiday season, as our gift to you. Ho ho ho.
What is your customer currently thinking and (more importantly) feeling?
Though some may believe customers' purchasing decisions are guided primarily by rational thinking, Gallup reports that “customers form strong emotions about your company based on their experiences with your people -- and those emotions strongly influence their buying decisions”.
Use the holiday season as a relationship building opportunity to reconnect with your customers or key accounts. What are their current feelings, frustrations and challenges? Demonstrate your commitment as a partner and collaborator by taking the time to ask questions and listen to their needs. Are they frustrated with your shipping policy? Make it free. Timid to renew because of budget constraints? Be creative with your pricing. Stressed? Send them a week’s worth of juice, or wine, or scotch. You get the point.
Is there an opportunity for you to talk or interact with them better?
Focus on what really matters. Now that you know what motivates your customers, speak and address these concerns directly. Recently, I worked with an account in health services whose team spends November focusing on renewals. Knowing the team was feeling anxious, a resource guide of key messaging and talking points was created to help alleviate their concerns. This unexpected gesture helped empower them to feel more confident going into an otherwise stressful month.
Is there a way for your brand to be top-of-mind going into the new year by doing something interesting, exclusive or distinctive for your customers?
When was the last time you were remarkable?
Stand out by being useful. Maybe you have an account regular check-in that is scheduled for this week. How can you delight and surprise your customer? Perhaps you know that your customer has an end of the year report due to their executive team. It’s a high stakes meeting that essentially summarizes their department’s value and worth from the previous 12 months. Your contact is scrambling to prepare a presentation deck and doesn’t have the normal time to dedicate to your frequent touch points. This is a great opportunity to be a bright spot in your customer’s day by delivering them a slide deck with data points and insights for the executive that has used your product or service to champion a cause in the department.
The more you can make it about them, the better! Remember, this is all about your customer, not you.
Take the time to listen, today. We believe that great healthcare marketing programs begin and end with customer empathy. By placing a focus on increased engagement, you can help your business maintain high-quality relationships with customers who help your business flourish in the coming year and beyond.