Christmas is coming, and in the spirit of the season of giving, it’s a great time to show your customers how much you care about them with a gift or token of your appreciation.
While it’s a wonderful thing to try to show you care, too many businesses miss the mark by buying gifts for customers that are boring, bland or thoughtless – think corporate personalized pens, coffee mugs or gift cards.
Want to gift something a little more thoughtful? Read on for our top holiday gift ideas for customers, plus tips on how to choose the best gift for your customers, whether at Christmas time or all year round.
At Christmas, it’s time for us all to count our blessings and share our goodwill with those who are less fortunate than us.
A charity donation is a great way to underline your commitment to social responsibility, and can be personalized to your customer. Are they a pet lover? Donate to an animal shelter local to them. Are they passionate about helping the older generation? Donate to an elderly charity.
Many charities often have great add-ons to make your donation extra special, if you’d like to back up your donation with something physical to send in the post – whether it’s a certificate in their name, a booklet showing exactly what their money will be spent on, or a cute plush toy.
This type of gift is great too for those customers who have corporate policies preventing them from accepting gifts.
While it’s not a typical ‘gift’, think about how it feels to receive a handwritten note from someone who is truly thankful for everything you do for them. It’s a classic, old-fashioned sign of appreciation that isn’t often seen in this electronic world.
A sincere letter of appreciation can have much more impact than your standard corporate gift. Make sure you personalize the letter to each customer and dig deep to convey just how important they are to you.
For those of us who rely on a go-to business bookshelf to spark ideas, getting a business-related book is a great gift. You can personalize it too with a note to say why the book was so impactful for you, and why you thought your customer might like it.
Book gifts can also be a great way to underline the values which are important to you as a business, and help your customer associate those great values with you every time they pick that book up.
For those of us who suffer from long commutes, an audiobook can be a great gift instead of a physical book. Even if your customer is struggling through a packed train or tube journey, they can plug in, enjoy your gift, and learn something new at the same time.
Many of us spend our days at a desk of some kind – whether in the office, or at home. And given that your average person spends 92,120 hours at work during their lifetime, improving the area you work in can be a good way to make your working life a little bit nicer.
So why not send a hardy indoor plant or succulent to brighten up their desk space? Alternatively, for a bit of seasonal cheer, pop a poinsettia in the post to give your customer the most festive desk in the office.
I hesitated at including this on the list, because often companies send discount offers to encourage you to spend more. Doing the same at Christmas could be seen as self-serving, when gift giving during holidays should be something that is selfless.
Consider what things your company could help your customers with that are truly caring and generous, and which can’t be perceived as cynical ways to get them to spend more of their hard-earned money. An example could be giving them a free product, letting them test out a new service, or giving them a discount on their last bill.
It’s said there are two types of people in the world – Type As, people who are typically super-organized and concerned with time management, or Type Bs, who are usually more relaxed.
If your customer displays all the signs of being a Type A personality, chances are they’ll love organizational gifts to help them stay in control of their tasks. Whether it’s a daily to-do-list pad, or a Moleskine notebook with a thoughtful message penned in the front, the Type A customers in your life will be sure to appreciate a time-saving tool.
On the other hand, if your customer is more of a type B personality, they’re likely to see the benefit in an adult coloring book. Not only do they help with stress, but they’re also reported to utilize areas of the brain that increase focus and concentration – all good things for the more loosely-organized type B customers in your life.
Bring a little personalization to this gift by including pencils or pens with your recipient’s name on, or by adding a handwritten note wishing them a stress-free holiday season.
The key to thoughtful gift giving lies in doing a little research before you hit the “buy” button.
Everyone’s experienced receiving a gift that makes no sense. Whether it’s receiving NSync CDs from your Granny who hasn’t realized that you’ve grown out of boy bands, or bubble bath from someone who didn’t know you only have a shower, examples of bad gift giving are everywhere.
Companies can be guilty of this too – churning out gifts that aren’t interesting, helpful or appropriate, and will likely get thrown in a desk drawer and forgotten.
In light of this, here’s some pointers for researching and buying that perfect customer gift.
This is a situation where it’s perfectly acceptable to stalk your customers’ Facebook page to get an idea of what they’re into. Are they a big fan of the latest big TV series? Get them a box set. Are they subscribed to every baking-related group out there? Buy them a cupcake baking set.
Twitter can be a social media goldmine for thoughtful gift-givers, giving you 140-character glimpses into what your customer likes. If your customer has a Pinterest account, bingo – they’ve likely pinned all sorts of things which excite and inspire them.
Consider what’s important in your customer’s industry and business, and find gifts that will hold real meaning to them in their professional life. For example, a customer working in the travel industry might appreciate some fancy luggage tags. Or a customer working to get their business of the ground might appreciate a book or two to help them out.
All of us live within our local communities, and there will be a host of organizations near to your customer who are dedicated to strengthening their local community. Choosing a gift that’s relevant to your customer’s locality is a great way to show you care about the culture they live in.
Does your customer have a family? Maybe they’re a new parent, or they have grown-up kids. Consider gifting something that their whole family can enjoy – perhaps a fun family game or activity that they can complete together.
We’d love to hear what your go-to gift is for your customers this year! Tell us what you’ve chosen in the comments below.