In the Trenches: Holiday Cards and Gifts
It’s that time of year again, when businesses go through the difficult process of determining what to do about holiday cards and gifts. I always dread making this decision, because I never know what to do. I’m not talking about what to do for my employees, which doesn’t seem so hard. It’s figuring out how to thank our best clients that makes me nuts.
Personally, as a customer of other companies, I have a very matter-of-fact way of looking at the issue: I prefer that the places where I do business save their money vs. do anything costly for the holidays on my behalf. If they have enough money sitting around to put together lavish gifts, then they’re charging me too much. Get rid of the gifts and lower your rates!
Does that mean I don’t like it when someone thanks me for my business? Of course not. But just send me an email or an e-card that says so and don’t waste money on frills.
That said, I realize that I’m at one end of the spectrum here. There are plenty of people who would greatly appreciate something more during the holidays, and I don’t want to disappoint our customers. I do want them to know how much they mean to us. So I always feel pressure to do the right thing to get that point across. It’s a nerve-wracking process.
Each year, we have a longer and longer list of clients, which is a good thing. But it also makes the task of figuring out holiday cards and gifts more daunting. What I try to do is separate our clients into different categories: We have our small-business clients, and then we have our personal travel customers. Some are frequent customers, and others are occasional or single-use customers.
Once I’ve divided everyone into manageable groups, then I can figure out what to do for each group. Do I appreciate the people who used us once, never to return? Absolutely. And for them, I’ll send some sort of email greeting (unless they’ve opted out of receiving emails). But the more frequent users of our service merit a bit more. I just haven’t figured out what that should be yet.
Last year, we just sent out a holiday email to our clients, but as we grow, I want to do something a little more for our best customers. Suggestions, anyone?
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.