Consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to the products and services they buy. And that choice doesn’t end when they sign a contract with you. Customer retention is crucial to sustainable company growth.
But how do you combat churn and show your customers just how much you care about their business? Besides a fantastic product and excellent customer service, the answer is gifts, of course.
Not sure where to start? These best practices will help you select the perfect gift every time:
Personalize your gifts: Don’t order 30 wine of the month subscriptions and send them to all your clients -- even the two that don’t drink and the one who’s told you several times how much they like beer. Consider your champion’s likes and hobbies, and source a gift that will be meaningful to them.
Don’t overdo it: If your client pays $200 a year for your product/service and you send them a $300 coffee maker -- that’s overdoing it. Keep gifts in proportion to how much a client’s company spends with you to ensure no one feels uncomfortable about the gift.
Think outside the holidays: Don’t relegate gifts to the holiday season. Send tokens of appreciation throughout the year. By sending presents outside of December, you’ll avoid disappearing into a crowd of break room gift baskets sitting sadly in their cellophane. Plus, gifts are meant to show your clients you care about their business all 12 months, not just when they're up for annual review.
Now that you’ve reviewed gift-giving basics, here are a few no-fail client gifts to keep you in your clients’ minds all year.
These trendy desk accessories brighten your client’s day and remind them of the growth you can achieve together. Plus, succulents and air plants don’t require much water or maintenance, keeping things easy for years to come. Want to make it even easier? Order a realistic artificial arrangement like the one pictured above.
I’m not suggesting you send clients a stack of the company-branded Post-its heaped five feet high in your supply closet. Have nice leather-bound notebooks created in your company colors or with a subtle logo printed on the front cover.
Does anyone love break room coffee? That five-year-old gallon of Folgers might get the job done in a pinch, but you’ll be an office hero if you send a deluxe basket of gourmet coffees or flavored teas. Want to give this gift some local flavor? Create your own box of beans roasted nearby and source tea blends from the best tea house in town.
Have company-branded calendars created by corporate experts like SmartPress, or source independent artists on Etsy for unique calendars clients won’t find at their next industry conference. If you’re downloading a calendar design, take the file to a local printer and have them copied on high-quality paper for an impressive effect.
Look for books that refer to your client’s city, state, industry, or personal interests. A book they’ll proudly display on their desk or in the office sitting area will serve as a conversation piece for years to come -- and so will your name if you include a personalized message inside.
Have a client who travels frequently? Send them a toiletry bag they can use immediately. Monogramming is always a nice choice, especially on travel items. And select canvas, leather, or waterproof options for a bag they’ll love forever.
Don’t want to send another basket weighed down with cheese logs and vacuum-sealed sausages? Bless you. There are several companies breathing new life into the traditional gourmet food basket. Remember to ask about client food allergies to ensure you send gluten-free and vegan options when appropriate.
Let’s face it, we all have more leaky water bottles and superfluous fruit infusers than we know what to do with. But there’s nothing better than receiving a water bottle you’ll actually use. Consider a high-quality S’well or Camelbak option with your company’s branding.
Give the gift of learning! Instead of quickly consumed snacks or trinkets, give your client an experience they’ll always remember. Consider a gift card to an online classroom where they can spend a few hours honing their cooking, photography, or software development skills.
If you have a client with a four-legged best friend, consider a BarkBox subscription. Choose from a variety of subscription lengths and this service will deliver goodie boxes for cats or dogs directly to their door.
Chances are, company t-shirts you send clients will end up at their local thrift shop. Instead, invest in fashionable clothing and accessories with subtle company branding customers will actually want to wear.
15. A charity donation
If a material gift isn’t appropriate, make a charity donation in your customer’s name and let them know what that money will achieve. It’s a meaningful gesture that communicates your company values and honors theirs.
Let the beer lovers in your client roster concoct their own brews. And up the ante by including a pair of company-branded pint glasses.
17. Restaurant gift cards
Research the hottest new restaurants in your customer's area, or ask for hotspots they’d like to try, and get them a gift card. It allows them to unwind over a nice meal -- and your name is sure to come up before dessert.
18. Bakery delivery
Is there anything better than an unexpected office delivery of fresh-baked goodies? That was a rhetorical question. Send over local doughnuts or pastries the whole team will enjoy.
If your client spends their weekends whipping up gourmet delights, pick out a cookbook and pair it with a few non-perishable ingredients for the star recipe. For a more showstopping variation on this gift, opt for a prepared basket from Dean & DeLuca or Williams Sonoma.
20. Catered Lunch
Everyone loves a good burrito or sandwich bar. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant catered lunch -- just make sure to throw in some cookies for good measure.
In today’s open workspace, the importance of a good pair of headphones cannot be overstated. Give your clients a pair and they’ll think of you gratefully every time they drown out that chatty desk mate.
When in doubt, send a card. Always include a handwritten or personalized message with your gift. After all, if a corporate gift box falls in the woods without a note, does anyone actually hear it?
Don’t wait for a special occasion or holiday to remind your clients how much their business means to you. Send an “off-season” gift today, and you might even get a referral or two from your efforts. To learn more, read about the types of business etiquette next.
Originally published Feb 14, 2019 5:00:00 PM, updated April 20 2018