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Are You Schmoozing Your Customers?

If not, chances are your competition is.

In today's market, a key to success is having an effective strategy for "relationship marketing." Although money is tight in most businesses right now, that should be extra incentive to cultivate a strong relationship with your valuable staff members and those customers that are the bread and butter of your business. Relying on moderate levels of customer satisfaction doesn't ensure that you can count on last year's clients for this year's revenues. Expressing your appreciation with an effective gifting program can keep customer loyalty and employee morale high.

It cost 6 times more to generate a new customer than to keep an existing one. We should be rewarding those customers in ways that say, "We truly appreciate you and value your business." Many companies budget for volume gift giving during the holiday season. But the fact is, this may not be most effective time to reward your customers. Do you recall the gifts you received during the last holiday season? Probably not, or if you do, perhaps you had to give it some serious thought. Likewise, the holiday gift you sent has most likely been long forgotten. Or, the person you most wanted to impress may have taken an extended holiday and was completely unaware of the gesture.

Sending gifts throughout the year, when least expected, have a greater impact with your clients. Sending an unexpected birthday gift, or welcome gift upon arrival to the hotel for a pre-planned meeting or event, will separate you from your competition and keep your name in front of your customers more frequently. Also, appropriate apology gestures are a must when your company makes a mistake. It speaks volumes about your credibility.

We not only need to focus on our relationships with our customers. Motivating our workforce is just as important. Our businesses are only as good as our weakest employee. Consider the cost of high staff turnover, continual recruitment, orientations, training, the mounds of paperwork involved in employee processing and terminations. These expenses can be minimized by utilizing creative strategies for recruiting, motivating and keeping a good workforce.

Our employees are representatives of our business and have to be relied upon to provide the services and project the images we work so hard to achieve. Recognizing them from time to time with an unexpected gift, perhaps on the anniversary date of their employment or after having put in extra time or effort on an important project, says "thank you" and "you're appreciated" in a thoughtful and personal way.

When implementing a gift program, rely on the talents and resources of a gift consultant. They can offer you an endless variety of gift options to reward employees and clients, get past gatekeepers, use as door prizes, raffles etc. From upscale executive-styled gifts, to inexpensive themed gifts that represent your trade or industry, your choices are limited only by imagination. Gift consultants can keep you up to date on the latest trends as well as gift etiquette. Many offer their services free of charge and offer free gift reminder services for the convenience of advance notification of an upcoming occasion.

Effective gifting programs are a necessary and a wise investment to take your business to the next level. For more information on business-to-business gifting programs, contact Mickey Crawford at Best Wishes Baskets & Gifts at 770 867-4598.