Sending client gifts can be a highly effective marketing and relationship building tool… if done correctly. Here’s a snapshot of the 5 common mistakes people make when sending client gifts.
Don’t get me wrong. Corporate branding is very important, but it has its time and place. That time is not when you’re sending a gift to a client or customer. Why? Well, quite honestly, when you send a gift with your company’s logo on it (or worse, all over it), the gift becomes about you, not the recipient.
Alongside mistake #1, chachkis absolutely have their place in business – trade shows, corporate events, etc – but not when you’re sending a gift that is supposed to be a personal gesture of appreciate or gratitude toward a client or customer. Everyone knows that chachkis are generally cheap(er) in nature, so by giving that as a gift, what does that say about how you feel towards the gift recipient?
Business is messy and here’s the truth – gifts get lost. Missed shipments, mailroom disasters, unruly employees… we’ve seen it all happen. If you don’t hear from the gift recipient within 3 business days or so, it’s not impolite to send a friendly reminder that you sent a gift. For example:
Subject Line: Hope you enjoyed the chocolates
I just wanted to make sure you received the box of chocolates I sent last week? Sometimes they get lost in the mix and wanted to make sure they got to you safely!
Anyway, I hope you and your colleagues enjoyed.
Do you have time to catch up next week?
This isn’t so much a mistake as it is being overwhelmed by everything else going on in the, “day-to-day,” mix. December is the most obvious time of year to send gifts to your clients, but that’s also when everyone else (probably) sending them too. If you want to stand out, look for opportunities like client birthdays, other holidays (we’ve heard Valentine’s Day, for example), or create your own client/ customer appreciation day.
Federal, State, and Local Law is one thing… company-specific gift policies are completely another. You can only know so much, especially with new clients, so you might want to check on the company’s gift giving/ receiving policies before you send them. Don’t feel comfortable asking directly? Find the executive assistant, or another employee at the company, and ask them directly. They won’t think anything of it and they’re probably be willing to help you out if they don’t already know.
Driving employee engagement – either getting, “more for more,” or, “more for less,” – is an evergreen challenge. Employers don’t think they’re getting enough, and employees think they’re getting too little. Here are five non-monetary ideas that you can probably implement without much resistance.
Let’s use a real-life example: using social media at work.
If you’re company is specifically engaged in social media channels, then you probably should at least figure out, “who is allowed to do what,” as it relates to the company’s channels. But on a personal usage side, maybe not so much. In fact, allowing your employees this mental downtime can actually save you over $2,0000 per employee (per year) just by allowing them to relax a little bit more. Or, look at it another way and you could actually gain over 11 extra days of quality production.
The numbers above come from a recent study (study) that suggests over 20% of all workers suffer from some form of insomnia. People are still coming to work, but they’re more tired while they’re there, sapping productivity. Surprise, surprise. The report ends with the following excerpt:
“’In an information-based economy, it’s difficult to find a condition that has a greater effect on productivity.’ The costs, he said, might justify screening and treatment programs for workers. Now, employers mostly ignore insomnia because it’s not considered an illness … They estimated just more than 23 percent of workers have insomnia, and prevalence was lower among older workers and higher among women than men.”
Here’s a guess at what might be causing the insomnia– your employees could simply be… O-V-E-R-W-O-R-K-E-D. Perhaps, they’re overworked because they have to be in right at 9am, work all day with maybe a 1-hour lunch break, and then can’t leave until 5, or 5:30 at the earliest. And the truth is most people think that working late is some badge of honor, so most will do it.
So, speaking as a current business partner, here are five examples of non-monetary things that we do at GiftsOnTime:
1. Don’t read your employees the riot act if they’re not in right at 9:00 am
Sure, some people will take advantage of it, but what you gain is a relaxed feeling for your people to start the day.
2. Let them eat cake! (No, not the cake Marie Antoinette was talking about)
I’m talking about social media… facebook, youtube, twitter, etc. There’s actually a lot of useful information out there and if your employees can’t be fully wired into what’s happening in business, the world, their own life, etc, then you won’t be able to use that information either.
3. Give at least one DAILY mental hall pass
When I was in high school, I worked at a deli in Stop & Shop. As part of the deli workers’ union (yes, I was forced to become part of a union), I was entitled to two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute break for every eight hours that I worked. And it was great! The 15-minute break gave me a chance to clear my head, get some fresh air, wipe the shaved Boar’s Head Honey Maple Ham off of my pants, and just get refocused on the next two hours of work. Encourage your employees to do the same.
4. Send them home at 5
Ok, this piece of advice I’m stealing directly from the authors of Rework, but send your employees home at five. All work doesn’t have to be done in an office anymore, and sending people home early will encourage two things: (1) to have a life, and (2) get to bed at a reasonable time.
5. Say “Thank You” More Often
Even if you don’t have an employee appreciation program, that doesn’t mean you can’t say thanks. Sure, the work might not ultimately turn out so good, but at least they got it in on time, right? If they feel appreciated, they’ll work that much harder next time to get it right.