As we approach the end of the year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the ways in which your clients have positively impacted your business. Gift giving is an effective way to show your appreciation to your clients for their loyalty and support during the year.
It also offers a good opportunity to reach out to those clients with whom you haven’t had much interaction with for some time because it helps to keep your services in their mind. Client appreciation doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming if you plan in advice and bear these tips in mind:
Where to start?
- Spend some time thinking about who you want to say thank you to. Here are some good considerations to make when putting together your list of clients. It might be a good idea to segment your client base into categories:
- Biggest clients by Revenue.
- Clients who gave referrals during the year.
- Repeat customers.
- Long-time customers.
- Be sure to consult your team to see if there is anyone who you might have missed.
- Make a spreadsheet with the names and mailing or email addresses of the clients you wish to recognize at the end of the year. Aim to update this database whenever you learn that your clients have changed their contact information. That way, you will be always be working with current information when you are ready to send out gifts or cards each year.
- Do not go any further without a detailed budget. The amount you set will determine the number and cost of the gifts you are able to give. Showing your appreciation is very important, but it is important to put the financial health of your business into perspective too. You could also add holiday gifts as a monthly or quarterly expense item, since this will allow you to put aside a little each month to avoid having to come up with a significant amount of money at one time.
- Avoiding listing specific holidays on the cards or gifts that you are giving because you want to be sensitive to your clients’ various cultural and holiday traditions.
- Be ethical in your gift giving. Ensure that you are actually allowed to give gifts to your clients. Some industries and companies have restrictions on whether or not they are able to accept gifts over a certain dollar amount. And others will not accept any gifts at all.
- Avoid decision fatigue. There is no rule that states that you can’t give the same gift each year. If there is something that works for you, go ahead and give it each year. It could become your signature item – and something that your clients will look forward to receiving each year.
- Don’t stress it if you aren’t able to get everything out in December. New Year gifts and/or cards can be a welcome change – and they might actually stand out more since your clients might have received so many gifts before the end of the year.
As mentioned above, your budget will determine what you are able to give. Here are a few suggestions that might be useful to you.
- Coupons or discounts off of services offered by your business. Coupons and discounts offer clients the benefit of saving on future services. Consider making extending the expiration date until after the holiday stress and frenzy ends.
- Holiday cards are a good option, especially if you are on a tight budget. Cards are an inexpensive option that also allows for creativity. Here are some ideas for photographs:
- Color-coded team shot,
- Team members dressed in costume,
- All your team members’ pets; or
- Something related to a charity/cause that your company works with.
- Wine and dine your clients. Food is an integral part of holiday celebrations. You could consider reaching out to your clients by inviting them to dinner (or lunch or breakfast) at a nice restaurant. You could also have edible treats (such as large popcorn tins or fancy chocolates delivered to their homes or offices).
- Always have holiday gifts in the back of your mind throughout the year. If you come across a great idea or product, make a note of it. You can use Evernote or Google Drive to store this information. You could also consider setting up a Pinterest board for gift ideas.
- Give the gift of holiday stress relief. This time of year is known for being fun, but it can also be chaotic and stressful. Consider giving your clients something that will make the season easier for them. Some examples are: free gift wrapping, a gift card for a treat at a coffee shop, special holiday delivery of gifts that they have ordered from you.
- Get them something you know they’ll like…and surprise them with it. This article talks about using the power of surprise to really impress your clients and show them that you care. Brad Johnson notes that, “If people know you’re thinking about their lives, they’re more likely to want to do business.”
- Branded items. These items are beneficial because they allow you to give a token of appreciation to your client that has your company’s logo and name in full view. Some examples are travel mugs, calendars, tote bags and T-shirts. If you get non-holiday themed items, you can use the extra ones at different times during the year.
Since it’s the season for giving to others, a nice twist would be to get your clients involved in giving back to the community. For example, you could send an email asking everyone who comes into your store to bring a canned food item that you will donate to a local food bank to help food insecure families. Or you could consider partnering with your clients to host an event for the less fortunate in the community.
At Remote Quality Bookkeeping™, we are thankful to serve each and every one of our clients and look forward to celebrating the holiday season.