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Holiday Card versus discountIt’s always nice to show customers a little appreciation. You can call the customer, send an email or text or go with the old fashioned handwritten thank you note. You can also send a greeting card, which leads to the topic of this article. And, this is especially appropriate as the holidays are rapidly sneaking up on us. Just about two weeks ago one of our subscribers emailed me a question asking how I felt about sending a holiday card around Christmas with a gift in the form of a discount coupon for ten percent off the customer’s next purchase. I like the idea of the coupon, however, I’m not sure I want to confuse good wishes during the holidays with overt and blatant promotion. Most people get holiday cards from their friends, family members and even some of the places they do business. Sure, they are all appreciated, but there are so many. Yours might get lost in the stack. Furthermore, when you send your card with a “gift” that is really a discount coupon, that means that in order to get the gift, the customer has to spend money. Some gift! So, if you’re going to send a holiday card, make it about your appreciation for the customer and not a marketing tactic. Save the marketing for a separate promotion. But, there are other holidays that may be more appropriate for a money-saving coupon, or any other type of promotion. How about a New Year’s card that shows up the first week of the year? It’s a bit unexpected, it’s an opportunity to thank the customer for their loyalty over the last year and it can include an incentive (in the form of a coupon or discount) to continue their loyalty. Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to show your customer a little love in the form of a card expressing “heartfelt” thanks and a discount to show how much you appreciate your customer’s business. I cannot forget one of my favorite holidays, International Customer Service Week, which happens the first full week of October, and is a great time to show some appreciation and send a card with a promotional coupon to the customer. Keep in mind there is a delicate balance you have to keep. Blatant promotion looks exactly like… blatant promotion compared to an expression of appreciation. It can come across as disingenuous. A lack of sincerity will erode trust, and cause you to lose any emotional capital you’ve built up with your customers.  And, you thought that card with a discount coupon embraced the holiday spirit! Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken) Save Save Save

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