This week's Newsletter:
🎁 Sending Holiday Gifts to Customers Doesn't Work. Here's why...
I remember the moment clearly...
My entire customer team was running around rows of folding tables with boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbon strewn everywhere. It was mid-December, and we were madly wrapping small gift boxes of chocolates and hand-writing holiday "thank you" cards for customers.
As I began writing a card to one customer, I cringed. I knew this customer well and sensed that the gift would not have the desired effect. They were struggling and had repeatedly asked for help that we couldn't (or didn't) provide.
I worried that this gesture might annoy them in light of the situation. I pictured my customer saying, "Do you really think chocolates are what we need from you?"
At that moment, it hit me that, once again, we were spending time and money on something that feels good but with ZERO EVIDENCE of its effectiveness!
📈 Over the next two quarters, I observed higher renewal rates among gift customers but quickly realized it was entirely the result of SELECTION BIAS.
The gifts had been sent only to our biggest and most successful customers. Once I controlled for that, I found that the gifts had ZERO IMPACT! 📉
That outcome may not surprise many, perhaps because they've had similar experiences.
But others never expected an impact on customer renewal in the first place. They view these gifts as nothing more than sincere expressions of customer appreciation.
Here are three big problems with that point of view...
❶ Everything is a trade-off when resources are limited.
Every minute spent on actions like this will not be spent on helping customers achieve and improve their results. I've never seen a customer ask for gifts, and I'm confident they'd gladly trade it for more help and support every time they are given the choice.
❷ Customers don't want your gifts.
What customers want most are measurable results to improve their business. What they need is expert help in solving their most important problems. I'm conscious that there's always more we can do for them. The more sincere my concern for customers, the more anxious I am not to waste efforts on shallow gestures.
❸ Gifts can backfire. (read the room)
The issue is that customers are aware of the time and energy they take, which could have gone to other activities. If you think about it, this is precisely the message that hand-written notes are meant to convey! The result can be that the gift only increases their frustration.
I worried about this a lot and was interested in how it went over with the customer I described above, so I followed up. Just as I feared, their reaction was negative. They politely conveyed their view of the gift as an attempt to deflect from their unmet needs.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:
This year, I recommend reclaiming the time and money from gifts and investing them in what your customers want most from you:
✅ your expert help in solving their problems and getting measurable results.
Recent Webinar: How Sales can move the needle on churn! With Chad Rawlings
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
What customers want most are measurable results. What they most is expert help in changing their behavior.