Every company has a combination of clients that make everything you do worthwhile--and clients that make you reconsider (at least temporarily) why you got into this business. In the end, however, your company wouldn't be possible without them all. As the holiday season begins, now is the time to thank clients for sticking with you in 2013, so they'll stand by you in the new year.
But what's the best way to say thanks? Is a bottle of whiskey an appropriate gift, or should you stick to an e-card? Here are some thoughts on how to navigate the tricky waters of thanking clients during the holidays:
Do something good on behalf of your client.
Good deeds make us all feel better, and the holidays are a time to give back. Put the liquor back on the shelf and instead consider donating to a charity in your client's name.
Over at Freelance Switch, Collis Ta'eed bought cows from Oxfam's Unwrapped service on behalf of their clients, then named these new bovine friends after major projects the team had worked on. "It was amusing, heartwarming, and something that gets your clients talking and mentioning your name at every Christmas and New Year's party they go to," Ta'eed wrote.
Send custom cards, in print or online.
You might not have the budget to buy personalized thank you gifts for every client. But the holidays are a time to let clients know you appreciate them. A thoughtful and creative greeting card (we've got a great selection at Open Me) can be exactly the right way to show a little client appreciation.
You can personalize a custom card by including a picture of the office, or by adorning a printed card with a handwritten notes and signatures from employees. If your clients are more the eco-friendly type, send an e-card to save a tree.
Offer a discount.
If there's one thing people love during the holidays, it's discount shopping. This year alone, Black Friday morphed into a kind of "Gray Thursday" as more stores chose to open the door to holiday shoppers starting on Thanksgiving itself.
Offering a big discount on one of your popular goods or services might be the perfect way to show your appreciation. This will encourage continued sales, boost morale, and help your clients' wallet. With so much spending going on around the holidays, clients will be thankful for a little budgetary break.
Host an event.
Face-to-face events can be a great way to show your thoughtfulness with clients, as well as your interest in forging a stronger professional relationship.
Consider an office holiday party where clients can get to know your team better in a more relaxed environment. Just make sure the environment isn't too relaxed. Caution employees against hitting the bar too hard and let everyone know it's important to be on their best professional behavior. Conversely, these parties should be fun, so it's important employees keep it casual and avoid pitching sales.
Do a client spotlight on social media.
Your social media accounts should be all about socializing, but sometimes it's easy to forget your current clients in the rush to add more to the roster. During the holiday season, utilize your social media to show how much you appreciate your company's clients.
Consider creating an awesome graphic to showcase and thank your clients once a week during the holidays. You'll be sending traffic to their site and reinforcing the idea that they're monumental to your success. Best of all, you'll be showing how much your organization cares about clients and customers. By giving your clients the gift of appreciation during the holidays, you might just find yourself receiving the gift of new business in the new year.
What are some ways you show clients appreciation during the holiday season? Share in the comments!