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Customer Relationships

For those of you that own businesses, or are in some sort of marketing/sales function, do you guys do anything after getting a contract or working with a business? 

Do you send cards, a box of chocolates, or a basket of fruits to the client?  Or nothing at all? 

And for those that do send out something special, are there any recommendations for things that have impressed the client?

I'm planning on doing something like this for my larger customers to help get repeat business, and wanted to get some opinions on things to do.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Well, it's kind of the reverse of what you're talking about, but this last holiday season, all of us who worked on a particular client's system got hand-written Christmas cards from the **client** sponsor and PM.

It's a classy client anyway (they're pretty much at the top end of their industry), but that really made me feel good as one of the guys that built and delivered their system.

Guess we must be doing something right for the client to thank us in addition to paying us!

To your point though, don't know if my own clients appreciated it at the time, but when I've contracted in the past, I got some nice thank you cards and wrote a brief note to key folks I'd worked with. Never heard anything back regarding those, however.

Monday, January 13, 2003

"Guess we must be doing something right for the client to thank us in addition to paying us!"

Yes, that is definately a good sign! :) 

"....I got some nice thank you cards and wrote a brief note to key folks I'd worked with. Never heard anything back regarding those, however. "

I'm sure they appreciated it and are happy with the work that you did, but probably just didn't find it necessary to reply with a thank you since they've already shown their appreciation by paying you for a job well done.

Monday, January 13, 2003

Well, each year at Christmas time we usually end up sending out something to each of our important (or repeat) customers. We always try to pick something that people will want to use. Some of our past selections: Long-sleeve T-shirts, CD wallets, Leatherman-type tools, page pals (those little sand filled things that stand your papers up so you can read them), digital clocks, caps, and so-on. One very important note... all of these items have had our logo stamped, embossed, stitched, etched, or somehow placed on them. The client is thrilled to get something for "free", and we are thrilled that they show it around with our logo on it. This need not be applied only at Christmas however.

Monday, January 13, 2003

HeyMacarena -

Of course, you're right -- I had never intended to get into a loop of 'thank-you's' going back and forth with my clients. What I meant to express to you (but failed) was just that yeah, I did the cards, but can't tell you how big a deal it was (or wasn't) for them. Undoubtedly for exactly the reason you mention.

Monday, January 13, 2003

HeyCoolAid:  That's very interesting.  I hadn't thought about keeping the branding thing going by adding logos to the gifts.  Nice idea.

Monday, January 13, 2003

In Australia government officers have to declare all gifts in an aid to ovoid corruption. So it can make it a bit embarrassing when your customer has to refuse the gift.

Matthew Lock
Monday, January 13, 2003

Matthew:  I think we have sort of the same policy here in the U.S. also when it comes to gifts to government public office holders due to the potential conflict of interest. 

But that's good to know Australia has similar rules to prevent politicians from being more corrupted and in general money grubbing scum bags beckoning to the rich and powerful. 

And yes, I know I'm stereotyping and that not all politicians are like that -- however, those that feel they are truly there to serve the public and are actually trying to make it a better place for everyone is far and few in between.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Every year, I give something to my top clients.  Last year it was a thick long sleeved shirt with logo.

This year, it depended on the client.  Some got a Golf Shirt with logo, while others got a small fleece bag with logo.  The bag was big enough to hold a bottle of wine, which I also included.

Gerald Brandt
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Gerald:  Thanks for the shirt and fleece bag idea.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Rather than gifts, which usually have to be declared these days, you can offer jollies, like tickets to a sports event, or a theatre.  Of course you get to go as well.

And if you make it a range of clients rather than just one it can be even more useful.  Don't worry about customers meeting each other and ganging up on you, there's a tendency towards good manners when being hosted.

And you can be a lot less formal with them, give a knowing smile if they try and hit you with a bug report.

Some jollies I've been on (either as supplier or customer)
Day at Ashes Test (Australia v England)
Day at Ascot
Formula 3000
Night at Stratford
various stuff in Las Vegas

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, January 15, 2003

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