Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0 Guest Experience Have you ever been given a gift of appreciation from the place that you do business with? The other night I ate at a restaurant. Once we sat down, the server brought over champagne glasses for each of us. The server told us that they love to start every guest experience with a complimentary glass of champagne to toast the customer. This little perk was an unexpected, but greatly appreciated, gesture. Most of the time the only thing the server gives us at a restaurant is the menu. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just this restaurant bumped the guest experience up a notch and set the tone for the rest of the evening, which, by the way, was exceptional. And, at the end of the meal, they brought over a platter of wonderful chocolates, again, complimentary. A great way to end our experience. What this restaurant did was no different than any other business that practices what is known in the retail industry as a gift with purchase. The concept is to reward the customer for their business. This isn’t a loyalty program, but a perk. And, it applies to every type of business – both B-2-C and B-2-B. Some companies give different gifts based on the amount of money spent. For example, on occasion my wife will come home with some cosmetics. Because she spent a certain amount of money, they gave her a “gift,” which was several small bottles of their other products. Now, is this truly a gift or perk, or is this a marketing ploy? I recently bought something through a website that offered free shipping on any order of $20 or more. Everything they sold was $9.95. I usually order two tubes of their product, which means I’m ten cents short of qualifying for free shipping. Is this their “gift” or perk for spending $20, or is their scheme to get me to buy a third tube of their product? Why don’t they just tell me to buy three and I get free shipping? I’ve written something similar to this before about loyalty programs. When is a loyalty program not a loyalty program? When it’s really a marketing program. And, the concept of the gift with purchase can quickly fall into that category. By the way, it doesn’t bother me that it’s a marketing program, just don’t tell me I get a free gift when I spend enough. Call it an incentive or some other similar term, but don’t tell me it’s a gift. The restaurant example is perfect. They know I’m probably going to order dinner, but they don’t really know how much I’ll spend. And, regardless of how much I spend, I’m still getting the gifts. They do it for every customer. It’s part of the experience they create for every guest. Yes, I know I’m paying for it in some other fashion, but it’s a nice gift on behalf of the restaurant. Done well, the concept of a gift with purchase works. Make it a perk – a true gift – and not an outright marketing scheme, and you’ll reap the rewards of happier customers, return customers and great word-of-mouth marketing. Twitter Tweet Facebook Share Email This article originally appeared on Shep Hyken and has been republished with permission.Find out how to syndicate your content with B2C Author: Shep Hyken Follow @Hyken Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal best selling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications,… View full profile ›More by this author:The Omnichannel Experience – What the Heck Does That Mean? 5 Lessons On How to Personalize the Customer ExperienceHow Much Do You Trust Your Customers?