“This is the workplace, and Cupid doesn’t belong on the org chart.” Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant
Sending Valentine’s to clients? What could be more inappropriate? What could be more awkward? What could push the boundaries further?
You had me until “boundaries.” That’s exactly what leisureology does. Push the boundaries of what’s possible: help businesses forge new paths, differentiate themselves, and build stronger relationships. Remove “inappropriate” and “awkward” from the Valentine’s Day situation, and you’ll have the ideal chance to accomplish all of this – and show your clients some love.
Show Me the Money Love!
Companies I’d worked for in the past always emphasized Christmas communications – and spent November and December stressing about which cards to send, whether or not a gift was expected, if a Starbucks gift card was enough or if they had to throw down for a sock/ceramic knife/dog treat/cheese-of-the-month subscription.
Everyone was hung up on Christmas – so I decided to own Valentine’s Day instead. Who in their right mind would send Valentine’s Day cards to their clients? Usually when a sentence starts with, “Who in their right mind…” the answer is “Paul.” But there’s sound business logic to it – as there is with every aspect of leisureology.
Valentine’s Day is all about emotions, and as Zig Ziglar once said, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” Consider this:
- By 2020, customer experience will “overtake price and product as the key brand differentiators.” Customers will expect (and, to some extent already do) that brands meet their individual needs and provide a personalized experience.
- An Accenture survey asked, “What is the most important factor when buying a product?” The number one answer was: “Would I get decent service during or after the purchase.”
- A customer is 4 times more likely to switch to a competitor if they experience a service problem versus a price or product problem.
How do you make them feel? The way you treat customers, clients, as well as vendors, makes the real difference, both to them and to your bottom line.
When you go the extra mile, it matters. When you do something thoughtful, kind – and best of all, unexpected and perhaps unorthodox– for clients, it matters. Why? Because you’re sending the message that you care. That you’re passionate about what you do – and for whom you do it. And when you pull it off beautifully, all the better!
Appropriate Valentines for Clients?
If you’re thinking roses, chocolates, cute plush bears in bee costumes that say “Bee Mine,” call your lawyers. They can advise you better than I what your next steps should be. No, let’s keep it appropriate and inject some of your unique brand.
Looking for Work/Life Integration?
Paul Marchildon, an experienced Leisureologist, can work with you and your team to increase productivity by incorporating leisure into the workplace.
How? Why not send a Valentine’s Day survival kit a few weeks in advance? At Atlantis, we included everything our clients needed to easily create handmade cards for their significant others. Remember, the “significant other” could also be a relative, friend, or child. This makes it an inclusive gift that everyone can enjoy. And note that it had nothing to do with work…can you say work life integration?
Our clients loved it – and us. (I had a CEO call me to say I had saved his bacon!) We continued to show them the love and innovation every year. And because we did, we stood out from the crowd. At the same time, and this is critical, it aligned perfectly with our brand. We were known for innovation, creativity, and client responsiveness. We showed it. We lived it.
Make February 14th Client Appreciation Day the Leisureology Way
You don’t have to send Survival Kits (but you can, if you want. Get on it!), but consider extending some sort of gesture that conveys your appreciation and dedication to your clients, co-workers, and even suppliers. It doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. Leisureology on a budget? That just requires better creative!
Think about your audience and how you can meet their needs:
- What will make life easier for them?
- How can you demonstrate your commitment to value and customer/client service?
- What can you do to make sure you and your card/gift is the best part of their day?
Who in their right mind…wouldn’t seize an opportunity to stand out, to demonstrate their brand’s unique value proposition, and delight clients? Leisureology provides endless chances to push the boundaries.
Why shouldn’t you push yourself to be more creative and thoughtful? Why shouldn’t you push your clients to expect better value and service– because you’re the one who can deliver? Cupid may not make the org chart, but that sure sounds like (business-appropriate) love to me.