Where’s The Love

My husband and I aren’t big on Valentine’s Day. It feels like a chore more than anything – here’s another day when you have to remember to buy a card, get a present, make a big deal, etc. And after putting together 24 Valentine’s gifts for my daughter’s kindergarten class, I’m pretty much loved out.

But even though I view Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday best reserved for high school students looking to prove their undying love for this week’s significant other, I do enjoy celebrating this holiday with two special groups of people – my employees and our customers.

First, we are celebrating Valentine’s day with our employees with heart-shaped donuts and hand-written cards. Each manager wrote out cards for his or her direct reports, and we got donuts for everyone this morning. (Our office loves donuts almost as much as they love booze. And that’s a lot.) I think it is important to take opportunities to remind your employees how important they are to your success and also, to let them know that you do enjoy working with them. We spend more waking hours at work than with our families, and at Legion, we consider ourselves a (dysfunctional) work family, so it makes sense to express appreciation and love whenever possible. After all, Tony and I cannot make up a $22 million company alone – we need lots and lots of great people to do what we do.

Second, anyone who knows me knows that I am a big believer in high-touch customer service. I think that you need to take every chance you can to recognize, reward, and love all over your customers. It breeds loyalty, and it places the emphasis where it belongs – without customers, we do not have a company. I’m also not a fan of gifts sent during the Christmas holiday. The time of year tends to be freighted (no pun intended) with a lot of political and religious undertones, something I like to avoid at all costs, and it is a time of year when EVERYONE is sending gifts and cards, so whatever you do gets lost in the shuffle.

You know when people DON’T send gifts to their customers? Valentine’s Day. So why not capitalize on that, sending out gifts to your best/newest/most loved customers? It doesn’t have to be anything crazy – we usually do a combination of Legion swag and chocolate, along with hand-written notes from the salespeople. Put some nice tissue paper with it, and make sure the presentation is attractive, and you have a gift that will surprise and delight customers, for very little cash outlay. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right?

So next year, when February 14th rolls around, think of all the non-traditional celebrations you could have to make the holiday less commercial and more about the appreciation of the people in your life.

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