What my hairdresser and dentist taught me about giving client gifts
When you finish working with a new client, do you give them a little parting present?
At the moment, I don’t. But recent hairdresser and dental appointments have left me thinking gifts for new clients is a bloody good idea.
In both cases when I received the gift my consumer behaviour changed. Now I’m keen to see what difference client gifts could make to my business and customer relationships.
Small cultural differences
Giving clients a little parting gift isn’t a new idea. Loyalty cards, money off vouchers, free branded merch… Having one or all of these stuffed in your shopping bag as you leave a store is something we’re used to. But its usually bigger retail brands doing this.
Receiving tokens from small service businesses like hairdressers, dentists, beauticians is pretty new to me. When I visited businesses like this in London, I didn’t expect anything. Comparing them to their Australian counterparts, I get the feeling that giving client gifts is more common. And I like it.
I’ve only got a loose theory as to why this might be. Perhaps it comes down to competition? As in, there’s less of it here in Oz, so small businesses get greater customer loyalty and therefore value when giving client gifts.
It’s certainly worked in my case. Here’s a quick summary of what happened during my appointments, how my behaviour changed and how client gifts can secure repeat business.
Visiting the new local salon
I was long overdue a mop-chop. When I finally got around to making an appointment it was off the back of a good business month. Having extra dollars in my account, I thought, ‘Eff it! I’m going to treat myself.’ Coincidentally, a swish new salon opened down the road from me. It was clearly meant to be.
The cost of a wash, cut and dry was a little over $100 (AUD) — more than I’d usually spend.
To be sure it was going to be my kinda place and I was spending my money wisely, I hopped onto the salon’s website. While there I signed up to their emailing list. This got me $25 off my first cut. Nice! Now I was definitely going to book.
So far, a good customer experience. And it only got better.
Getting my monies worth
In most salons you can expect a nice little head massage when they condition your hair, a tea or coffee and the latest glossy mags to flick through.
This is all very lovely. But this salon blew it all that out of the water.
During my appointment I got properly pampered. Here’s how it went down.
- Consultation — so I felt properly listened to.
- Neck and shoulder massage (life first for me, but does your stylist do this?).
- Head massage during hair wash and conditioning.
- Cuppa tea and selection of mags.
- Cut and style I love and tips on how to maintain/recreate.
I was over the moon with the service. Very professional and I felt well cared for. It was a fab experience and I was ready to walk out the door with a big smile on my face and give a Google review.
The extra cherry on top came when I went to pay.
My new customer gift bag
Right before handing over my hard-earned cash my stylist gave me a little bag.
“It’s full of little gifts because you’re a new customer,” she said and explained what was inside: shampoo and conditioner samples, a small bottle of smoothing serum and a further two money off discounts for me to use.
Now this is clever marketing, because when she asked, “Would you like to rebook in 6-8 weeks?” I said “HELL YES! Get me on your books!
I Have. Never. Ever agreed to book ahead with a hairdresser. But I’d had a brilliant experience. It was easily worth $100. What pushed me over the edge to re-book?
Knowing I had discounts and could get that service again for less than 100 bucks. Again.
I’d be a fool not to rebook.
Very smart on her part.
Even the dentists are into client gifts
The little gift bag when I left the hairdressers was a lovely surprise. The one I got from my dentist was even more of a shock.
Inside the little paper bag were mini-toothpastes (perfect for travel), a new toothbrush and a handy little info sheet about looking after your teeth between dental appointments.
The most I usually got from my dentists was a slap on the wrist for not flossing enough and (as a kid) a sticker for not being a brat.
Thinking about it, at the end of 30 minutes of having my gob open and (let’s be honest) a total stranger poking around in my mouth, getting this little bag of goodies was a nice touch.
Amazing customer service + client gifts
It’s worth noting that in both cases the gift bags were handed over at the end of the service. And on both occasions the actual service was excellent.
What I’ve learned from these experiences is if you’re going to offer client gifts do so as an added extra on top of an amazing experience. Not instead of.
It’s certainly made me think. What more as a copywriter and content marketer can I offer new clients to encourage repeat bookings?
At the moment clients who book my website or blog article services get little extras, like their branded Copy House Style guide. Or I’ll whip up a template for them to manage some copy tasks themselves.
As a business owner, client gift packs are something I want to work on. Giving those little extras makes people feel happy. It lets them know you give a stuff — you’re not just another customer, you’re their customer and they have your full attention. Better still, offer the right gift and you’ll be making their life a little bit easier.
Are you using client gifts in your small business?
What little touches do you offer your customers? Which ones encourage them to come back to you rather than any other service provider? That little something that they might not be expecting, but it makes complete sense to you to swing it their way because you know the benefits it could bring. Lemme know.
Whether you’ve been my client or not — perhaps you’ve worked with another copywriter — it would be good to hear what you folks would find most useful to have as a little gift?
Gifts are amazing, and it’s a little encouragements for the customers to come around. Personally I was using gift cards, and discount coupons.
Working in healthcare can be challenging to find the appropriate gifts for each customer/patient.
What do you think? Can you think of anything better than cards and discounts in a healthcare facility?
Thanks so much for your comment. I agree, they are great as little encouragements for repeat business.
What kind of gift cards were you giving? I think this is a good idea, but important that the gift card is relevant to my business.
In terms of what could work better this will a) depend on what kind of healthcare sector you work in and b) what kind of budget you have.
As I mentioned in my little gift pack from my dentist I got mini toothpastes, a tooth brush and a help sheet about caring for my teeth between visits. Using content like this sounds like a great idea to me. Giving client gifts is all about adding value and that absolutely can come in the form of giving your customers useful and interesting information.
As a pharmacist is challenging to find the perfect gift for each customer, but with the help of our purchasing department, we managed to have a list of products/cosmetics/over the counter items .. that have a high profit margin, and then we are giving the patient the option to either select the card category or a mystery pick. sometimes it’s actually pretty fun. 😀
Giving the customer a choice sounds like a great idea for them. I can imagine it would be tricky for some small businesses to manage this, but I like the concept of ‘choose your gift pack’.