The leftover turkey is gone, the in-laws have headed home (finally), and I’ve gained five pounds. That must mean it is time to start thinking of gift giving! Every year we send our clients a gift to thank them for their business. And let’s be honest, to keep us top of mind. Every year we struggle to come up with an interesting, relevant, and broadly appealing gift.
We like to give something that clients will want and likely don’t have, as well as something most people will desire or enjoy. We don’t want to send something with such a narrow appeal that many of the people getting it don’t want it or just put it on a shelf to linger. That is not only a waste of money, but more importantly it is a wasted opportunity to connect with the client. Below are several ideas we have come up with over the years. Some are better than others (and some are kind of cop-outs for when we can’t come up with anything better). Some are only relevant for larger clients where budget permits a gift worth hundreds of dollars, but some are for almost any budget.
1. Automation Starter Kit – For some of our larger customers from years ago before we were doing a lot of automation work, we have gone back and installed a Crestron PYNG hub and a couple of lamp dimmers. Even better, we’ve connected the lamp dimmers to their Christmas lights so that they can automate their tree and exterior lights by time of day or sunset.
2.Streaming Video – This one may not be as relevant as it used to be as most clients now have streaming video of some kind, but we have sent out Apple TVs or Rokus to clients as a thank you. These are relatively inexpensive but are greatly appreciated.
3.Streaming Audio – Many clients still do not have an audio server in their home, especially if they have an older whole-home audio system. We have installed for some an audio server — either an NSP-1 from Crestron or a Denon HEOS Link to give them a taste of how great streaming music can be.
4.Small Control Touchscreen – To use the best features of our systems, an always-on, hardwired, touchscreen control interface is the best. If there is a room where one makes sense and the client doesn’t yet have one, we will stop by and install one to give them the best experience. Often, they will later upgrade to a larger size or add more in other rooms.
5.App Control – For clients without app control but with processors that are capable, we will enable and program a basic iOS or Android GUI for one phone in the home so they can see how convenient it can be.
6.Remote Access – Now that we have free DDNS with mycrestron.com, it is much easier and cost efficient to provide remote access for a client to their automation system. For those clients who did not opt for the feature back when there was a charge for it, we now will offer them free remote access to their system.
7.Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Clients cannot take their home system with them, but we know they love their music. So we have given small, ultra-portable Bluetooth speakers.
8.Gift Cards – While less personal and more on the “cop-out” side of things, a gift certificate to iTunes, Amazon, or GameStop (for gamers) is something always appreciated by a client. With iTunes gift cards we will put it in nice packaging with a bottle of wine, a box of Sour Patch Kids, and a bag of microwave popcorn and present it to them as a “Movie Night” gift.
9.Memberships – Similar to gift cards, but at least it is a gift that gives all year. For clients who are gamers, we will send them a one-year Xbox Live membership or for others we will give three to 12 months of Netflix with a pre-paid Netflix gift card.
10.Movie or Game – If we really know the client’s tastes, instead of giving a gift card we will give an actual movie (particularly if they are into 3D movies, we will give the Blu-ray) or a game if it is something new and hot that we are pretty sure they don’t have yet.
What other great gifts have you given to clients that have gone over well?