The holiday period and the months leading up to it come with several opportunities. For customers, it’s a period to buy gifts for their loved ones and score great deals. However, for businesses, it’s the busiest time of year.
At such a time, vendors need to prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas sales, and more. This year, Deloitte estimates that holiday retail sales will exceed $1.28 trillion. Gaining even a fraction of these sales could help you smash your Q4 revenue goals by far.
One way to achieve this is to broaden your customer reach. When you connect to more customers, you can build trust, meet their needs, and drive sales.
We've put together tips and tools to help you reach more buyers and automate your customer reach at scale.
Customer Reach During Pre-holiday and Holiday Period
During the pre-holiday and holiday period, people are actively looking to buy more. They are not only looking for holiday deals but also gifts for family, friends, and colleagues. Deloitte research also projects that this year's holiday retail sales could increase by 7% - 9%, which amounts to $1.28 to $1.3 trillion holiday sales from November to January.
This surge in sales comes with more demand on marketing teams, sales, customer support, and customer success teams. As a result, your teams need to reach customers across several channels. They’d also need to manage calls, queries, customer complaints, and everything in-between. With the high volume of sales involved, performing these processes one at a time can be daunting.
Yet, wasting time is not an option.
Why is that?
For one, the holiday-induced demand does not last long. It is not unusual for people to start shopping around Halloween and ease off after Christmas. This gives you a small window to secure sales. Also, there’s a chance that faster competitors may grab a significant market share while you lag. Automating customer reach could help you get in front of buyers faster and secure sales.
Tips for Automated At-Scale Customer Reach
Automated customer reach involves building brand visibility and reach without significant human involvement. It helps improve customer support, sales, and marketing during the holidays.
Below are the top three tips that can help you automate customer reach at scale.
Tip #1 for Automated At-Scale Customer Reach: Create a Playbook for Repetitive Tasks
Building processes for customer-facing repeatable tasks is critical to scaling your reach. These tasks are usually time-consuming and may stop you from reaching more buyers. It may include customer onboarding, promotion management, re-engagement, ticket routing, and queries handling. Establish procedures for handling these tasks and then automate. For example, you can create canned responses and load them in live chats or chatbots to answer customer queries. This ensures that customers achieve desired outcomes (purchase, queries, etc.) faster.
It is also critical to document processes for managing customer interactions. Ideally, most companies centralize interactions from multiple channels in one place. This way, your team can easily access any information they need.
Tip #2 for Automated At-Scale Customer Reach: Leverage Data
To improve your reach, you’d need to understand your customers deeply. What are their interests this season? What actions do you want them to take? How has your customer base changed in the last few months? Low touch vs high touch, which engagement model will ensure customer success?
Customer data can provide answers to these questions. Some of the data to track are; conversion rate, customer lifetime value, referral traffic, and customer health metrics. Data from your last holiday sales is also valuable. From there, you can optimize your holiday marketing strategies to reach more shoppers. =
Tip #3 for Automated At-Scale Customer Reach: Use the Right Tools
The right technology can help you reach a vast range of customers. Most businesses use customer success management tools to scale the process. These tools provide a bird's-eye view of the customer. They allow you to automate customer outreach, identify friction points, and resolve issues. We’ll explore these and other useful tools in the next section.
Tools for Automated At-Scale Customer Reach
Your success and that of your customers go hand-in-hand. Thus, you’d need a tool that not only broadens your reach but also supports holiday time customer service. Here are some of those tools:
- Marketing Communication Tools
These technologies allow businesses to connect with customers and drive brand awareness. You can use marketing communication tools in various ways. It could be for email marketing, direct mail marketing, or social media marketing. You could also use them to scale sales promotions tactics such as free shipping, discounts, etc., in other channels. Essentially, the key benefit of these tools is to automate customer outreach. This way, you can maximize your reach without adding more team members.
- Customer Success and Customer Journey Tools
These tools help businesses manage all aspects of customer success at scale. You can centralize customer data, track the entire customer journey, and run holiday marketing campaigns that target buyers at various points. Other benefits of using these tools include:
- Automating workflows and customer engagement
- Designing the customer journey to deliver matching customer experiences
- Analyzing how customers use your products or services
- Assessing customer health score
Examples of these customer success management tools are Gainsight, Vitally, Totango, and ChurnZero.
- Address Verification Tools
Businesses use address verification tools to validate customers' mailing addresses, especially at the point of capture. This software is critical to programs that rely heavily on accurate physical addresses like shipping orders or direct mail marketing. It ensures that you don't spend resources or miss sales opportunities by delivering to addresses that may not exist. Most address verification tools have auto-completion features. The feature speeds up data entry and improves accuracy.
Inkit Comprehensive Solutions for At-Scale Automated Customer Reach
While most of your holiday campaigns can be online, you should also consider direct mail. Direct mail marketing involves sending physical promotional materials to customers. They include postcards, brochures, coupons, flyers, and packages. The average response rate for direct mail is 2.7% - 4.4%. In comparison, it surpasses emails, whose response rates average at 0.12%. This gives you a chance to reach even more customers.
Inkit provides comprehensive solutions that can help you scale your direct mailing efforts. It includes a combination of Inkit Send and Verify. Here's how each tool optimizes your automated customer reach:
- Inkit Send
Inkit Send integrates with your existing software to deliver printed communications at scale. You can set up triggers that signal when and what to deliver.
- Inkit Verify
This API checks the validity of postal addresses in real-time. It ensures reliable delivery information for direct mailing or e-commerce orders delivery. When integrated into your website, Inkit Verify has the address auto-complete feature helping your buyers save time when placing your order while simultaneously helping you capture the correct postal addresses and keep your data well-formatted.
Pre-holiday and holiday sales give you a chance to strike big before the year runs out. Use these tips to increase your reach and boost sales. Leverage automation tools and APIs to support outreach and holiday time customer service. With all these in place, you can position your business for maximum success this holiday season.