Anyone who has spent time building a business should take time maintaining his relationship with his clients. There are many situations that may leave a business owner wondering which client gifts are appropriate, if any at all. The dilemma is relevant for employees who provide services through an agency as well.
order to maintain friendly as well as professional boundaries it is good
practice to think about what is and what is not appropriate when choosing
client gifts. The first thing to consider is how well you know your customers.
For example, you may think that the bottles of wine that you bought are
the perfect thank-you presents, but these client
gifts are not for everyone. Your customer may not drink and he may
not enjoy the token. Another thing to consider is the customers background.
Not everyone celebrates the same holiday and some may not appreciate receiving client gifts for holidays they do not recognize. If you are not sure whether or not your associates celebrate a certain holiday, try sending client gifts that are non-specific and appropriate for several occasions. I worked for an agency that provides services to families who have autistic children. Since the child is the actual consumer, I had to be extra careful not to overstep professional boundaries by buying expensive client gifts for the children I worked with.
This was especially difficult
when working with needy families who could really use nice presents for
their children. As a rule, it is better to keep the client gifts under
ten dollars in these situations. Some customers are difficult to please
and you may not find any present that they will enjoy. My sister bought
an optical illusion puzzle in order to gift one of her customers.
The person who received the gift from my sister called her and asked if she thought that he had the time to waste on puzzles. He interpreted the gift as an implication that he wastes time and does no real work. Although she still conducts business with him, she keeps the client gifts very ordinary when dealing with him. Just about every business has a secretary. If I have a relationship with a business, I always make sure to include the secretary in the client gifts because she is one of the most important contact people in the company. It is good practice to send a greeting card or flowers on Secretarys Day. The receptionist is the bridge between you and your customer. In summary, make sure that you know your client before buying presents. Keep it clean and simple and keep it professional. Even if you are able to have a comfortable lunch with a customer and even if you can exchange a few jokes, the nature of your relationship is business. This should be reflected in the kind of client gifts you choose.