Why should they receive anything from us? To show our appreciation for them choosing us and to leave a lasting reminder of our working relationship with them. This is not for every job because some jobs are quite small and relatively inexpensive. This is for those with a larger scope that take a few days or longer to complete.
In some organizations where this is done, the people selling the projects or completing the work rely on their companies, suppliers, or others to provide a closing or appreciation gift to their clients.
There's absolutely nothing wrong someone else who has participated in the project to some extent transaction helping to show their appreciation with a gift, but this doesn't suffice for us.
However, we need to be the ones to cement the relationship with our client, show genuine appreciation for the time we have spent together developing this relationship and completing the improvements for them, and provide a constant reminder of our time together each time that gift is used or viewed.
This is the essence of the appreciation or closing gift - to provide a tangible thank you to our client and serve as a continuing reminder that we worked with them, helped them, and are available to be called upon in the future if necessary. This gesture is much more than an appreciation gift, although it is every bit of that. It also will help remind our client of the work we did and how we were able to help them. They may of people they can refer to us, and people who visit them and see the work that was done or remark specifically about our gift are potential future business for us as well. It's like a silent salesperson constantly there in the client's home for you.
This is why flowers, candy, wine, or any other consumables are a poor thank-you or closing gift. It can be part of it, but there has to be something more permanent - something or lasting value. While a gasoline or restaurant gift card will undoubtedly be appreciated by our clients. this has immediate value to them but no lasting impact or anything their friends could see when they visit their home.
There are a few items that are quite appropriate for us to give to our clients, and ones that will be noticed and be a conversation starter for visitors coming to their home. One easy thing to create is a piece of furniture, a shelf, or a cabinet that can serve as an entry or welcome station by the front door of their home. It can be selected just for our client, or we can use the same item or basic design for everyone.
There are many styles and sizes we can use. That's not the important part. We can paint it to match our corporate colors, or we can brand it somehow with our logo (decal, medallion, or etched emblem). This is a functional item that people can use each time they return home, to have a place to rest or empty their hands to access the door more easily. Visitors will certainly remark about it also. Each time our client sees and uses it, and each time a visitor sees and comments on it, we have received a branding bonus in addition to sincerely providing something of value or purpose for our clients.
A thank you gift can convey our appreciation to our client initially and go on to serve us as well in potential goodwill and referrals.
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.