It’s client gift season, and every year companies contemplate the most appropriate way to express their gratitude to the customers and employees that make it possible for them to exist. Questions around changing corporate policies regarding the value of gifts that are given to customers make it increasingly difficult to know how to express thanks without breaking the rules. Tight budgets restrict the amount allocated to employee appreciation gifts, and giving something small may be perceived as an insult to that hard-working associate who stayed late every night last week to finish an important project on time. How does an organization acknowledge the value of customers and employees? And does it matter?
First: YES! it matters. We only have to look inside ourselves to realize that everyone likes to know they are appreciated.
Second: Start informally, with two small words – Thank You!
Saying thank you to employees seems like the simplest thing we can do to improve morale, inspire change and build mutual commitment. But in reality, those are the people that are often taken for granted, and as a result, contribute to the turmoil that ensues with high turnover. Spontaneous, sincere and personal recognition for a job well done will often build and maintain employee loyalty, even when budgets don’t allow for end of year bonuses or expensive holiday gifts.
For customers, especially large corporate buyers that deal with long preferred vendor lists, the purchasing process is a finely tuned mechanism that relies on a calculated price submittal that deliberately omits most of the personal interaction. Or so we are to believe. But behind every RFQ, there is a human being that worked hard to put together a process that would deliver the fairest price for the best product. That person, or persons, deserves our thanks for including us in the process, or, even better, giving us the order.
Finally, as a vendor, thank you is very often the last thing we expect to hear from our customers. After all, the customer is the buyer – suppliers know enough to understand thanks are in order, but rarely expect the same in return. On the other hand, that relationship is best served on both sides as a true partnership. A good supplier with industry experience, product knowledge and strong customer service skills can provide solutions to problems and make life easier for the client. A simple thank you is an easy way to say you appreciate the effort it takes to be a consistently reliable provider.
Gift season is here. There are lots of choices for appreciation gifts – from the elite and unique, to the simple and practical. But before considering those options, begin with two simple words – Thank You!