For those that have put in the time and effort to build up a business, they really need to understand the value of maintaining those hard won clients. There are many situations that may leave a business owner scratching his head and wondering which client gifts are the most appropriate, if any at all. The same can be said for valued employees as well.
In order to maintain friendly, but professional boundaries it is good practice to think about what is and what is not appropriate when choosing client gifts. You really should put some thought into what gift is appropriate for what person. For example, you may think that the bottles of wine that you bought are the perfect thank-you presents, but these customer gifts are not for everyone. That individual that you give them to me not drink alcohol, or worse yet may have a substance abuse problem. That could get pretty dicey. Another thing to consider is the customer's background. Not everyone celebrates the same holiday and some may not appreciate receiving client gifts for holidays they do not recognize. If you're not sure what a particular client or employee celebrated, then you may want to stay in the middle-of-the-road envy as neutral as you possibly can.
I worked for an agency that provides services to families who have autistic children. Since the child is the actual consumer, I had to be extra careful not to overstep professional boundaries by buying expensive client gifts for the children I worked with. That was not an easy task at all because your first instinct is to do everything you can and to be as generous as possible to the kids. But it is always recommended that client is our inexpensive and appropriate.
Some customers are difficult to please and you may not find any present that they will enjoy. My sister bought an optical illusion puzzle for one of her customers. Believe it or not that individual actually called my sister and berated her because he did not have time to be wasting a foolish puzzles. That was way over the top on his part, in my opinion, but I just wanted to be known that that can and does happen. He interpreted the gift as an insinuation that he wasted time and does no real work. That's why it's really important that they client gifts are appropriate and at the same time appealing.
Some of the most valuable employees are secretaries. I always make it my business to include the secretaries when I'm giving client gifts. Remember, the Secretary is the gateway to the boss and usually has the bosses ear. If I have a relationship with a business, I always make sure to include the secretary in the client gifts because she is one of the most important contact people in the company. It is good practice to send a greeting card or flowers on Secretary's Day.
It's pretty simple just make sure that you have a pretty good idea of who your client is before buying presents. Keep it clean and simple and keep it professional. That's always a good policy. Even if you are able to have a comfortable lunch with a customer and even if you can exchange a few jokes, you really are better off keeping our relationship is that of business and that should always be reflected in the client gifts that you give.