December is a month full of personal and professional obligations.
Personally, there are parties, shopping and gift giving to do. Children have time off from school and because it gets dark so much earlier, many times going home after work to wrap presents and send out holiday messages is very appealing.
Professionally, this is the time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and plan for what your organization wants to do in 2013. Often times this requires meetings and planning sessions. A holiday employee party may be in the mix as well.
But somewhere in all of this, you need to take time to appreciate your clients. And even though the trend in past years has been to plan a major event in December — because of the reasons listed above — you will be best served if you plan a fun and exciting outing for your clients in January or February.
Here are some specific steps to take when holding a Customer Appreciation event:
BETWEEN NOW AND DECEMBER 31
- Determine which customers you are going to invite to your event. What is the threshold for an invitation? A certain dollar amount spent with you or everyone who did any business with your company in 2012?
- Based on the invitation list, determine whether you are going to hold the event at your office or at an offsite venue such as a hotel, restaurant, or bar. If it is off site, secure the space immediately.
- Will the event be a luncheon, dinner, or reception?
- Are you going to make this a product launching event by giving clients a “sneak peek” into your plans for 2013? Or will it be a recap of 2012? It is probably best to do a little of both but remember, this is an appreciation event and the primary focus should be on the client.
- Line up all your partners: venue, caterer, event audio visual rental company and promotion firm.
- Send a digital invitation and give your clients at least 30 days notice. So if you send out the invitation on December 30, the soonest you would hold the event would be January 30. Make certain there is a RSVP email or telephone number on the invitation.
- Mail out handwritten, personal thank-you notes to all the clients you are inviting to your event.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE EVENT
- Personally call all individuals on your list who have not responded. Thank them for their business and ask them if they will make it to the event.
ONE WEEK BEFORE THE EVENT
- Place another call to the customers who have not responded.
- Assemble your goody bags to give to clients upon their departure from the event.
THE DAY OF THE EVENT
- Arrive early and work with the venue, caterer and AV company to make certain everything is in place and tested including the presentation services audio visual equipment and the sound and lighting rental systems. Check the room temperature and seating arrangements.
- Make certain the C-Level Executives are on hand to “meet and greet” customers as they walk into the facility and personally thank them for their business.
- At the end of the event as customers depart, hand them their goody bag.
AV Event Solutions wishes to thank everyone who made them successful in 2012 and they look forward to working with all their existing clients and meeting new customers in 2013!