Congratulations to my buddy John Ruhlin who has a new book that just came out, Giftology. In this book he covers the art of the appreciation gift. You may be familiar with his name if you’ve been following my work. I’ve covered some of his ideas in the past. He’s a rock star when it comes to understanding how to make people feel special and appreciated.
One way to make a customer feel appreciated is with a special gift. Now, keep in mind that some companies have policies that their employees are not allowed to receive gifts from customers over a certain amount when you are giving a customer a gift. If you are constrained by a low budget, from either the customer’s policies or what you want to spend, remember that it is the thought that counts. With that I share with you seven ways to properly give a gift of appreciation to your customers.
- Personalize the gift. John sells some high-end kitchen knives. One of his favorite gifts is to give a big butcher knife with a personalized engraving on the blade. The one John gave me reads: For the Hyken Home. Very classy!
- Don’t put your logo on the gift. If it is a really special gift, the customer will always remember where it came from. There is a difference between a gift and a promotional item. Whenever I see the knife John gave us, I always think of him. I don’t need to see his logo.
- Give a gift you know your customer will enjoy and appreciate. You don’t want your gift to be put in a closet to collect dust. I just did a speech for a client who sent me a special thank you gift; an autographed hockey puck by one of the St. Louis Blues. He knows that I love hockey and my favorite team is the Blues. By the way, this gift is personal, doesn’t have a logo and is displayed on the bookshelf in my office for everyone to see.
- If you want your gift to be truly memorable, consider something other than a consumable, also known as food. Now, I love chocolate and caramel popcorn, so maybe I don’t 100% agree with this one, but I get John’s point. Too many things can go wrong. There can be diet issues and someone may not like what you send them. And, it’s gone in short time. (Chocolate doesn’t last long in my office.)
- Consider what John refers to as the “inner circle,” which can include the customer’s spouse, kids or even the customer’s assistant, or someone else who he or she works with. It’s nice to recognize and appreciate them as well. My wife loves the knife that John gave me… I mean us.
- As we’re talking about customers, don’t forget about your internal customers. A surprise gift or taking employees to lunch can go a long way in building stronger morale and engagement. Show the people you work with that you care.
- Consider giving a gift when it’s least expected, instead of out of obligation. Everyone sends holiday cards and holiday gifts. I’m not against that, but a gift that is given when it’s least expected will stand out and be even more appreciated.
In one of the books I wrote, The Amazement Revolution, I talk about the after-experience. The idea is to do something special for your customers that is unexpected, appreciated and memorable. So, surprise your customers with something that is thoughtful and personal. Something they will enjoy and appreciate.
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