The holidays are an incredibly busy time for both you and your customers. Yet, it’s a time when you can reach out to them in a more personal way. With the expectation of holiday cheer, no customer wants to feel brushed off or that you’re operating with no recognition of the season.
Holiday messaging has been shown to retain clients.
Every part of your business needs to recognize the season. That includes office decor, holiday cards to customers and even changing your voicemail text messaging. Changing messaging isn’t hard and doesn’t take much time as most can be set up automatically. Even so, best practices remain in place that you need to abide by.
Best Practices for Holiday Messaging
Rules are there for a reason and best practices assure that you comply with SMS and voicemail messaging. It also helps you avoid offense or aggravation with any of your customers. Here are some of the best practices to implement for your holiday messaging.
Adjust to your customers
Sharing a holiday greeting has become controversial in recent years because some are offended by a presumed religious inference. Two ways exist to handle this. One is to understand your customers and customize for them.
That means some extra work but your customers will appreciate the extra personal touch. You will need to include Hannakuh greetings for Jewish customers and Christmas greetings for Christians or others that use that term.
There are other holidays during that time and you will need to include those for customers celebrating, as well as a general greeting for those who celebrate without a religious focus.
This works well if you know your customers individually and understand their preferences. Don’t ever guess. It isn’t the religious tone that offends people. It’s the presumption. Be sure to get it right if you choose this method.
Those who don’t want to take that on or who simply don’t have time to initiate multiple greeting texts can create an all-purpose text that is “safe” to use. These are texts that say things like “happy holidays,” “season’s greetings,” “joyous season,” or “season of giving.”
Whatever you choose, keep it simple. A complex holiday greeting has a tone of inauthenticity. It should be one sentence.
Set up auto-replies
Auto-replies to texts and phone calls are a lifesaver but many business owners don’t use them. That is mostly because they don’t understand how to leverage them. Customers will appreciate getting an immediate response telling them why you can’t respond right now.
Auto-replies are extremely helpful during the holidays when your entire staff is busy. You don’t want to ignore your customers and this is a way to make sure you pay attention to them.
Auto-replies can be set to initiate based on certain things that happen, such as when you are busy during normal operating hours and after business hours. Beyond that, texts can be set up to respond to address missed calls for those who call without leaving a voicemail. It can also be set to respond to those who do leave a voicemail as well as those who text.
Update tech to include holiday hours
You should include your holiday hours in various ways and locations. Putting signs up in your shop is good but it shouldn’t be the only way you advertise that. You should also include it on your website, as well as in your text and voicemail messaging. That way customers will get it in a variety of ways so they will see and remember that hours have changed. Including it in written form in several places helps them find it when they need it.
Don’t be afraid to add some holiday fun
You don’t have to be super serious during the holidays! Businesses need to remain appropriate and can add fun things according to their brand. Adding MMS to your greetings can help connect with customers and express the feelings that come with the season.
Some businesses add holiday music to their voicemail or gifs to their text messages. That’s fine to do as long as it is appropriate for your customers. Nostalgic songs or gifts work well. Be sure such things works with your brand. If you add music to voicemail or text, keep it short.
Adding holiday music to your hold time works well. It’s been shown that customers will stay on hold 30 seconds longer if there is music. Just make sure it’s music that the vast majority of your customers will like. Nothing is worse than listening to terrible music on hold.
Use shortened messages
You can save a lot of time by using snippets of holiday texts. These are easy ways to pull them to send to customers quickly. It takes a little time to set these up but it saves a lot of time over the holidays because you will use them again and again.
Include an opt-out
One of the most important rules of using business texts is offering customers a way to opt-out of every message. Failing to do that could motivate your customer to notify their mobile to provide to flag your business telephone number as spam.
Don’t include an offer
You are selling your business services or products all year so the holidays should be a time to relax a bit. That is especially true for text messages. Use your messaging to show gratitude to your clients and allow for the joy of the season. The response will be goodwill from your customers, which could amount to more sales.
That’s not to say you can’t have other sales promotions included in your holiday marketing. The holidays are a prime time for sales for many businesses. Just keep them separate from your holiday greetings to clients. Clients like the idea that you are contacting them for reasons other than to get them to buy something.
It’s okay to mute notifications
Many business owners worry about muting their phones because they don’t want to miss any opportunities. Even so, muting your phone notifications can be helpful if you’re working on a big project or spending time with your family. Don’t be afraid to do it, especially since you set up auto-responses and voicemail greetings.
Be sure to respond to customers once you unmute your notifications. Calls can pile up so you need to stay on top of things. Also, be sure to check your messages when you say you will and respond as you promised in any voicemail, text messaging, or on your website.
Customers notice when you don’t fulfill your promises and that could affect sales.
Be more personal
Customers are changing their attitudes about business dealings. The pandemic affected people in different ways and one of those is a renewed priority placed on non-monetary things like relationships. They want to be treated as someone who is recognized and important. Seventy-one percent of consumers want personalized communications from businesses.
You can fulfill that need by using tech to make messages more personal. Call customers by name in messages, whether it’s email or text. People like to see their names. They’ll remember you for it.
Keep voicemails short
One of the most aggravating things for customers is to call a business for information or to speak to someone and get a five-minute voicemail message. Voicemail messages should be short. They need to have a holiday greeting, tell when you can return phone calls, and your holiday hours. That’s it.
Your customers are busy too. A short voicemail shows you value their time.
Whatever you do for the holidays, make sure you plan your strategy. The holidays are a prime marketing time and you need to make the most of it by coordinating your text and voicemail greetings, website changes, office changes, and mailouts.
It may include some holiday promotions but also needs to include non-promotional material. All of that needs planning according to your brand. It’s not something that can be done last minute, even though it seems like a simple task.
After all, holiday activities are part of your branding so they need to be coordinated and consistent.
Keeping up with tech protocols isn’t challenging. It is about courtesy. Showing respect and courtesy to customers will improve relationships with them and build your brand. It offers something unique in a sales-driven world. They will appreciate it.