Is it best practice to offer a discount or get your regulars a gift?
From my experience in the hospitality/tourism industry, I see this pretty regularly at either the beginning or end of our high peak season. If you agree, what's an appropriate or reasonable gift/discount for your most valued and regular customers?
It's good business to show your appreciation for their business. Retaining a valued client is less expensive than acquiring a new client. Therefore, focusing on loyalty and referral programs is a good business expense.
Before considering the conventional gifts and plaques that are a one-time thing, consider what the client will value the most. Since my clients are business owners, I find creative ways to bring business their way. For example, if your client owns a restaurant, make it a point to introduce your other clients and co-workers to their restaurant. You get a 2 for 1, when you show appreciation to one set of valued clients by bringing your groups and clients to that other client's restaurant. Or provide gift certificates from one client business to other valued clients. Or setup warm introductions between complimentary clients so that they can do bigger business together. Be an opportunity agent for your clients' business. It will be an appreciation gift that will keeps on giving. When your clients succeed, you will succeed. When your clients make money, they can easily pay for your services.
Learn what your clients value the most - then find a way to go even a step above.
It's best practice to let valued customers know they are valued throughout the relationship. A gift isn't necessarily needed nor expected. This is primarily do to restrictions company's place on the receiving value of a gift these days. Often, in North America that value cannot exceed $50.
In Higher education the practice was to focus more on entertainment than gifts. This said, there are two references I think will interest you. One focuses on best practices; the question you asked. The other is an interesting discussion of the ethics behind giving gifts. It also has the value of providing guidance on what your employees should and should not do and how to educate them.
What’s the Best Way to Give Gifts to Clients?
The Ethics of Gifts & Hospitality by the Institute of Business Ethics.
I suspect there are what is called usual and customary practices that are part of the hospitality/tourism industry. I don't know what they are. I do know it is increasingly common that tips just get added into the bill even before service is rendered. Have you ever taken a cruise?
- The Pragmatic Web Designer
There is no reason NOT to give a thoughtful gift to a valued client. Are you crazy? Do you know how far a well thought out gift goes? Clients often expect them. There's no industry I've seen that this doesn't apply to...
My previous company did not allow us to take gifts from vendors except for few occasions in India like Diwali or New Year and the value should not be more than Few Dollars or things like a Calender, Pen, Sweets / Chocolates were ok.. An Iphone was a clear NO.. Its fine when you offer a gift but at the receiving end they should take a call because they get obligated and could end up in wrong decisions..
something made of card, with natural scent oils, wood or flowers - a seasonal reminder - a chart of growth of animals or plants.
It is a good business practice to show how much you appreciate the clients by sending a small gift. I usually reserve that for the end of the year. I may send a nice pen set or something like that. Nothing extravagant. If your company has some type of awards ceremony present the client with an award or plaque. That gesture goes a long way.
Hi Jason, best practices are to let your client know that you truly appreciate them and thank them often. How you do it is certainly situational. No reason to follow the crowd here. Make it useful and deliver it personally for desired impact. Reasonable value in gift items is important for impression and policy. Best Richard
Ask first if the customer has a policy about accepting gifts from suppliers or vendors...A gift that is focused on advertising your brand is of course acceptable, and then if there is no policy against giving a gift then make sure its done in good taste and that others don't look at it as "buying the business"...In good taste and thanking for the relationship over the past...Nothing needed to say about the future
Gifts are cute. Relationships are profitable. Understanding and having a real relationship (interpersonal, email, phone conversations) and figuring out what a customer does after working hours goes a lot further than gifts.
A CEO/Salesperson that clearly demonstrates that they know a valued client by wishing their wife a happy birthday with a 5% off discount for their birthday month keeps money in-house (they may not spend it) and fosters a deeper more meaningful brand connection.
First, be sure of the laws affecting gift giving for your industry. It is possible that gifts could be considered "pay per indluence" and that could have legal ramifications.
Otherwise, I would do more to find out from you colleagues what is done already in your business and what might be done by competitors. Here is a case where you should considered your gift as "of the type given", else you might be seen as currying favor (influence) as opposed to gifting for the business relationship already expressed.
In my view, it is best to give gifts to "friends", which means you should already be sure the person recieving the gift will percieve it so. At any other business level, you are "paying" for past or future performance (access.) IMO
I think it's better to get them discount or more free goods.
Whaat I recommend is a a trail of a product or service or some sort of added bonus rather than a gift which can be interpreted as a bribe.
Culture does have some bearing on what is done in the way of gifts between suppliers and clients. It also depends somewhat on the industry.
However...Gift giving is a slippery slope that can be taken as an enticement for further business that is not on the merit of the business. It is an ethics problem that does not go away, even with rules of limitations.
You want to reward your clients for their business? Show them a report of how you met their expectations and how everything they paid for is exactly what they wanted. give the customer no more and no less than what he is willing to pay for.
I can tell you that as a client, when I get an unexpected gift from a vendor, first I return it, but then I take a closer look at what I paid for to see if I can find where I paid too much.
It depends on the relationship with the client. But you could ask the clients themselves what they think is appropriate without letting them know it's for them.
I personally do this very occasionally, it is hard to judge the value of your clients.
After all what makes them indispensable to begin with? Will your business suffer if the client went elsewhere? I try to gauge my clients, by seniority, and by what they might do for me down the line, for my bottom line. I have one client who has been with me from the start, so it is easy, he would appreciate what ever I chose, so i try to personalize the gift.. last year it was three nights in a hotel of his choice on South Beach. Where others get pen and pencil sets, or tickets to venues they would personally enjoy (Country Music festivals, tickets to our county fair). These types of gifts are the type that keep giving in memories and relatively inexpensive. As I said not very often.
For referrals and nurturing the relationship, absolutely. Sendoutcards is a great way to accomplish this and conveniently and affordably keeping up with birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions with personalized greeting cards and gifting. If interested, I'm happy to help you learn more.
Sometimes gifting can be tough, especially in certain industries where there are strict limitations. Alternatives to gifting may be as small as personal thank you cards or as big as a celebration dinner or social event. There are myriad ways to get a great result for your investment in networking and client relationships if you cannot or choose not to gift.
Having said that, if you do gift, it's nice to try and tie in with a big event or occasion. Sometimes the timing and the effort are more memorable than the object.
For example, one of my close business acquaintances always makes sure to send 10 second videos from wherever he is (work, gym, restaurant) with a birthday greeting. He posts them on people's Facebook pages, and they are a huge hit. It doesn't cost anything but a minute of time, and it makes a huge impression.
For the objects themselves: A basket of treats for the office is also a good way to make a lot of people appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Small items from really tony brands work well, too. Like a desktop item from Alessi, or a key fob from Hermes, or a coffee table book from Phaidon. Sometimes the box it's in is as impressive as the gift itself.
Gift is an investment. The most exciting part is the outcome of the investment.
Best practices - will give you normal result ...little surprise expected
Unethical approach - either great result or poor result ...lots of surprises
A common but not sincere gift will be free trips or cruises during off-peak times.
things are good or bad its totally depends on your ideology and your explanation,...