Have you been too busy to organize Christmas gifts for your customers? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! This time of year seems to have a speed of it’s own and with extra social gatherings, increased demand in the lead-up to Christmas and your own personal gift-giving, customer gifts can easily be forgotten.
Sometimes we get caught up with trying to think of the perfect gift that is unique, on-brand, the right price-point and just perfect for our customers. But in doing this, the task of figuring out a gift can get so overwhelming that we procrastinate and put it off for another day. Until we find ourselves right on the verge of Christmas …with no gifts in hand.
But don’t panic. It’s not too late to do something meaningful for your customers that shows you’re thinking about them and appreciate their patronage. If you keep in mind that it’s all about the sentiment, there are lots of ways you can show your customers some love — even at the last minute!
1) Forget the gift and send a personal email
This is the easiest and cheapest option, and it can be extremely effective — but it does require some thought. The idea here is to let your customer know you’re thinking of them, you like working with them, that you value them for both as a client and also as a person. Whatever you do, don’t just write a generic “Happy Holidays” message. An example of a thoughtful message might be;
It seems like only yesterday we were meeting for the first time and discussing your requirements for [product]. And now here we are at the end of another year — with many [product versions] behind us!
The team and I wanted to take a moment to write to you and let you know how grateful we at [Business Name] have been for your support this year. I know you referred several people to us and we’ve loved meeting and serving some of your friends. I also realize that there were some frustrating times when we fell behind on schedule and I want to thank you for bearing with us and giving us the benefit of the doubt during those times. Businesses like us depend on having amazing customers like you!
I hope you have some time off during the holiday season to relax and celebrate the year that’s finished. We’re looking forward to working with you again in 2018.
Clearly this needs to be heavily customized for your situation. The more personal you can be (while still remaining professional of course!), the better.
2) Offer a donation in lieu of a gift
In addition to sending an email, you could also use this as an opportunity to do something charitable on behalf of your customer. In this way, you get the brownie points for thinking of your customer, and for being generous, thoughtful and non-wasteful.
To do this, you could send an email to your customer and append something like;
This year, the team and I decided not to do customer gifts. We do love giving gifts but we noticed that they were often unsuitable and sometimes wasteful. Instead, we’ve decided to make a donation to a worthwhile charity on your behalf. I hope you’re ok with that!
The team and I narrowed it down to three options we love – but we thought we’d let you choose who you’d like your ‘gift’ to go to!
For each of our customers, we’ll donate $XX to either; Charity A, Charity B, or Charity C. Please let us know one you like best!
With a donation like this, you strengthen the relationship with your customer and it’s still super easy to do.
3) Give a gift card for your products or services
If your business sells something that people purchase repeatedly, you can be safe knowing that your customers will appreciate a gift card as a Christmas gift. This can also be a discount voucher or a dollar-off voucher. It can be for them to use, or to give to their friends.
Giving the gift of your own services ensures that you’ll see the customer again soon – which can be very useful during the quieter months ahead.
4) Make your gift something to share
If you’re running out of time, you can still arrange a shareable treat for your customers without too much trouble. For customers that work in an office, hand deliver a huge jar of holiday candies, or a tray of muffins, or even a fruit platter. Or call them ahead of time and ask if you can provide lunch for the team one day and come with ready made baguettes, sushi, or maybe just morning tea treats.
For consumers, shareable treats are always appreciated as people have so many social gatherings to go to and they often need treats on-hand to bring along. Give a beautiful box of chocolates, Christmas cookies or candy canes. Your customers will think and talk about your business as they’re consumed!
5) Do a New Year gift instead
With so much focus on the lead-up to Christmas, customer gifts can easily go unappreciated. To stand out, try giving a New Year gift instead. Write a message that tells your customers you’re excited about working with them in the New Year and give something that signifies a fresh start. For example, New Years gifts could be calendars, journals, nice stationery, a fruit delivery service, or a massage (maybe even for the team if they work in an office).
Customer gifts don’t have to be boring merchandise that most people don’t want anyway. This year, let your disorganization help you give something that’s more meaningful for both you and your customers.