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How to plan a virtual Worksgiving for your employees.

By Husain Sumra|Monday November 16, 2020

When you run a small business, you get to know your employees very well. In some cases, you might have an almost family connection. If your small business focuses on retaining employees and maintaining high employee satisfaction, a virtual Worksgiving event might be an excellent option.

What is Worksgiving?

Worksgiving is a new word that has recently become popular on social media platforms like Pinterest. The idea is simple: It’s a Thanksgiving gathering or event in the workplace or involving one’s coworkers. It is commonly observed in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Since it is an unofficial holiday, there is no set definition or schedule. You can take a creative approach.

Organizing this event helps you connect more deeply with your employees as people. In 2020, this kind of event is incredibly valuable. Many people have been working remotely for much of the year, and many social events have been canceled or changed. As a result, your employees are probably getting less social interaction than they might like. Fortunately, you’re not limited to organizing a traditional in-person Worksgiving.

How a virtual Worksgiving event helps your company.

There are a few benefits for small businesses that offer a virtual Worksgiving event for employees. First and foremost, it is a tangible way to show appreciation for your employees. If the company has gone through some difficult times, an event like this can help employees focus on the positive. Further, organizing a virtual Worksgiving event gives employees more opportunities to connect informally. As a result, employee trust and communication may improve.

Planning a virtual Worksgiving.

Use these steps to plan the details of the virtual Worksgiving event. Of course, you will need to customize the plan to your company’s circumstances.

1. Outline a few virtual Worksgiving ideas.

Brainstorm a few ideas for a virtual Thanksgiving event by answering these questions:

  • Are there any other company virtual social events I can use as inspiration? (Example: You might have had a virtual party for an employee’s birthday or the Fourth of July.)
  • What communication tools do your employees have? (Example: Do all of your employees have a business phone at home? Do they have the ability or interest to use video conferencing tools?)
  • What budget can you assign to this effort? (Example: Consider sending digital gift cards to employees as a token of appreciation.)
  • Who could help you to plan and organize the virtual event?
  • Reflect on the most successful team bonding ideas that your company has used, like a virtual scavenger hunt.

2. Invite employees to a conference call to discuss a virtual Worksgiving.

Now that you have some initial ideas for a virtual Worksgiving invite your employees to share their thoughts. Consider organizing a conference call meeting about the event. Tell them about some of your initial ideas from Step 1 of this process.

Extroverted, tech-savvy employees are likely to be excited about the event. However, it is vital to make an effort to give each employee a chance to share their feedback. If some people are not comfortable contributing ideas during the conference, you may want to reach out to them after the meeting in a separate phone call.

Before you end the call, make sure you cover the following points:

  • Confirm that there is employee interest in the virtual Worksgiving.
  • Ask for one or two volunteers to organize the event.
  • Choose a date for the event, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

3. Schedule a virtual Worksgiving planning phone call.

Based on Step 2, you have confirmed that employees are interested in a virtual thanksgiving event. Now it is time to make a plan to address the details. Some areas to cover in this business call include:

  • Communication tools. A successful virtual event is impossible without thinking through communication tools. Does your business phone system come with an included video conferencing app, or do you prefer a dedicated tool like Zoom or even Microsoft Teams?
  • Activity ideas. Ask your employees to share ideas for virtual events like games, virtual trivia and more. Aim for two to five ideas for activities so you can offer some variety at the event.
  • Ideas for surprises or virtual door prizes. Brainstorm some ideas for a surprise gift for employees that can be easily used, such as a gift card for a service that delivers products.

4. Invite employees to the virtual event.

Once you have a solid plan in place from Step 3, send out the invitation to your employees. Keep in mind that your employees may be planning to use some vacation time around the Thanksgiving holiday. Therefore, you might want to schedule the event over lunch or in the afternoon rather than in the evening.

5. Hold the event with a few different activities.

Some recent research has suggested that many people find virtual events, especially video calls, quite tiring. Commonly known as “Zoom fatigue,” keep this fact in mind as you run the event. An hour-long virtual event is probably enough.

Possible virtual Worksgiving events for your small business:

  • Share your favorite round table. Your employees have a life outside of work, and a mini-talent show is a chance to connect over hobbies. For example, ask employees to share their favorite movies and why they love it. You might just end up with some ideas for movies to watch during the holiday.
  • Offer a gratitude session. Some people have a tradition of sharing something they are grateful for during Thanksgiving. You can take the lead here as the business owner by sharing something you are thankful for, like your hard-working employees or the ability to work virtually
  • Discuss Black Friday shopping. Comparing notes on shopping plans can be a fun way to connect with your employees. Maybe your employees will even discover some new deals.

6. Gather feedback from employees after the event.

A few days after the virtual Worksgiving event, send a survey email to your employees to ask for their feedback. Specifically, you may find it helpful to use an anonymous online survey tool like Survey Monkey. Find out which aspects of the event they liked and which they didn’t like. You can then use this insight to organize your next virtual Worksgiving event.

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Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.