Importance of Service
How you treat your customers and the quality of service you provide is what will make them come back to you again, and it is also what brings you new customers by referral. Building a strong, satisfied customer base is the key to the success of your new gifting business.  Repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising is essential to the profitability of your business.  Providing an excellent product  (which we do) and reasonable price is not enough to move ahead of your competition.  You must also provide excellent service and go that extra mile to make sure your customers are satisfied.  Employ the following tips:

1. Remember that the customer is always right.  Never argue with a customer.

2. If you tell a customer that you will do something in a certain time frame, do it.

3. If the customer asks you a question that you cannot answer, tell the truth and offer to find the information quickly.

4. If  there is a problem with an order, rectify the problem quickly and without argument.

5. Be friendly, polite, professional, and positive.  It isn’t that difficult because the gift business is a happy business.  It is your job to make the customer happy.

Repeat Customers
Our own experience shows that repeat customers make up approximately 60% to 90% of our sales.  Think in terms of how much your average customer will be worth to you over the next several  years.  It pays to cultivate customers into lifelong friends of your business, not only for the sale they will bring in your business, but by their word-of-mouth referral of new customers.

Most people are too busy to find the perfect gift.  Once they have determined that you are a reliable and dependable company with great products and services, they will use you as a personal shopper. 

Keeping customers for Life
When a new client places the first order, it’s easy for gift basket professionals to feel like they’ve just climbed Mt. Everest.  The temptation to turn ones back on current buyers to only attract more new clients is strong.  I must warn you that just the opposite is the true goal.  While you should continue to make new contact’s whenever possible, the job of coaxing that new client to buy again and bring his or her friends and family along in the real objective, and it’s just beginning.

You can never contact a client or past buyer too often, especially when you send the appropriate greeting in a format the customer appreciates and enjoys.  Here are a few ideas.  

Birthday Cards
When was the last time a store you frequent sent you a birthday card?  Cards are quick effective way to stay in touch with everyone who has made a purchase.  When contacting the client to verify the basket’s receipt, ending the conversation by asking the client for his or her birth month.  The gift basket delivery has the client in an upbeat mood, so he or she will tell you without reservation. If appropriate, add our recent flyer with our promotions.

Thank you Notes
Another way to get this information is through a follow-up thank you card.  Add a self-addressed, stamped postcard the client to indicate his or her birth month.  The postcard should be predesigned with a twelve month listing that has a line next to each month for the client to check the answer and return the card promptly.

All you need is the client’s birth month, not day of birth.  If you happen to get the date, that’s fine.  Some people are very proprietary about personal information but do not feel violated by revealing the birth month.  Send the card at the beginning of the month.  That way, it sits on the client’s desk or in the person’s home as an all-month reminder that he or she is very important person to your company.  Send a card that stands out in the crowd and invites other to pick it up in admiration.  Interesting cards inspire office conversations, and new prospects are only a phone call away to request a brochure or your website to place an order.

One great software to use that is free is: sends you an email at the beginning of the month which clients are to receive a birthday card. It’s like having a personal assistant who never lets me down.

New Year Eve:
Send your clients a calendar with your name and website.  They will keep it and use it all year long. What a great reminder!

Candy Jars:
Multiple gift basket orders call for a small token of appreciation for clients and their assistants.  Candy jar personalized with your company name sit on client’s desks reminding them of your company all year long. Fill these treasures with anything but the same old hard candies.  Look for gold wrappers, nougat-and nut-filled candies, individually wrapped truffles, or fortune cookies.  Before filling the box or jar, place a handwritten note on the bottom, with the words “The first refill is on us.”  Along with your company’s name and phone#.  This is a simple yet effective way to show your thanks and coax future contact

New Additions:
The birth of a child also calls for a congratulations card, and if the client has been very generous, a small gift is appropriate to send and is well worth the modest cost.  Reserve giving a gift until the mother and child arrive home, as there is plenty for the family to transport from the hospital.

If you are familiar with the expectant mothers or father’s work environment, contact a coworker to find out the staff’s plans for a gift or departmental baby shower.  Such an event allows your basket to be seen by staff members who need gifts for personal family members, corporate use, and outside affiliations.  Don’t wait to be called, ask and you will get the sale.

Step #6: Importance of Service