The customer appreciation season is here! It’s the time of year we reflect on the past year and show appreciation to those that have helped make our business a success.
Who should we recognize? Past clients go without saying, but don’t forget to acknowledge referral partners and anyone else who has gone that extra mile to help grow your business.
Here are some ideas that will help get your creative juices flowing.
1. Client appreciation events
Client appreciation events can be simple or over the top. Invite friends, current clients, past clients, and anyone with whom you regularly do business. Encourage invitees to bring guests.
The more the merrier because you are appreciating your sphere and introducing yourself to a new group that may use you themselves or refer you to their friends and family.
Some of the best events I’ve been to have been simple. Renting a bowling ally for a few hours and having a pizza party while bowling is an idea you can use annually. The event grows, and so does your business.
2. Personally presented small tokens of appreciation
Create small packages for everyone on your appreciation list. A mason jar with the dry ingredients for sugar cookies, instructions on the back of your business card, and a cookie-cutter is a simple and inexpensive idea.
Another well-received idea is a holiday ornament. If you can purchase an ornament with local significance, that is even better.
When purchasing tokens of appreciation, try to buy in bulk to save money.
3. Dessert for the holidays
Allow the clients you want to recognize to choose a dessert from the menu of a local bakery. Then schedule a time with the bakery to personally hand out the sweets to your clients. Your clients will appreciate you, and one less pie to bake for the holidays!
Whenever possible, use social media to capture your efforts. Showcasing your efforts will set you apart from your competitors. Consider doing a Facebook Live or asking for customer video testimonials that you can publish later.
4. Host a holiday open house
If you have a property you would like to showcase, consider hosting a Holiday Open House and invite all past and present clients and affiliates to drop in for food, drink, and fun. Offer swag bags with small tokens of appreciation for your guests to take with them when they leave.
If you don’t have an appropriate property for such an event, consider partnering with a builder to use one of their spec homes. Many builders will help you defer the cost of the event by sponsoring a portion of it.
5. Handwritten holiday cards
One of the most appreciated and underutilized gifts of appreciation is the personal handwritten note. You don’t have to write a book in each note, but be sure to include something personal to the recipient in each card. Your hand may cramp, but your efforts will be much appreciated.
Make sure you mention your appreciation and offer an open invitation to get together sometime in the coming year to catch up. This idea is perfect for anyone with a small budget for gift giving.
6. Holiday cards with a small token inside
Even though this is an old standby, it is effective. Seasonal Greetings with a calendar magnet is one of the most useful gifts and often end up on the refrigerator. But, this is probably not an appreciation gift unless you include a small gift card for a local eatery or shop.
Consider including a $5 gift card for all past and present clients in this mailing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate the holiday season. As a general rule, you can only write off $25 per person per year, so keep this in mind if you give appreciation gifts throughout the year.
If the gift includes your branding, it is considered advertising and does not count towards the $25 per person rule. But, the branding must be permanently affixed to the item. It cannot be a business card attached to a gift.
Customer appreciation is recognized most in the holiday season. Consider incorporating customer recognition into your regular business year-round so you will stand out from the crowd. It can also help spread your appreciation budget throughout the year.
Missy Yost is a Realtor with Century21 Diamond Realty in Bluffton, South Carolina. Follow The Yost Group on Facebook or Twitter.