Long Distance Short is finally back! It’s with great excitement that I announce that I am going to be a new host of our podcast and today we are going to kick it off with a customer interview! Our guest today, Amy T, works for a large tech company and has been a long-time customer of Gift Baskets Overseas. Stick around to hear this GBO customer success story and her take on the ups and downs of corporate gift campaigns, and learn just how the Corporate Gift Experts at GBO have made her life easier. Never fret – if you prefer to read about Amy’s adventures we have the transcript ready for you as well!
GBO Customer Success Story: Transcript
GBO Customer Success Story: Listen as a Podcast
Natasha: Thank you for joining us today to talk about your companies using corporate gifts. Can you please tell me a little bit more about yourself, about your job and about the challenge that you try to solve with corporate gifts?
Amy: Sure! So, obviously as you know, as you said my name is Amy. I have worked supporting executives in a lot of, variety of, different industries and different fields at different levels for quite a few years now, so it’s fairly common that we get requests whether it’s for employee appreciation or recognizing a holiday.
In this case I think we recognize the end-of-year holidays as kind of where we send our biggest gifts to people and partners, you know, business to business interactions. So I’ve been doing that for a while, I’m currently working obviously, you know, for a large tech company, we have a lot of external partners and I have typically always supported international teams all around the world.
So finding for me, you know, with all these moving parts we’re sending so many gifts, finding a single location that can accommodate, you know, a need if I need to send a basket to Australia versus also send a gift to Italy, obviously some internal here in the states it’s really nice to just have all of that come from one place, it’s a lot easier to track budget, shipping, so for me I’m looking for what’s the most efficient but what makes the most sense and, for me, using this service has always been historically just my number one go-to.
Natasha: For how many years you are with Gift Baskets Overseas now as our client?
Amy: I think I started using you guys back, oh that gosh, it was pre-pandemic back in 2017-2018. I wish I could remember, off the top of my head, because I’ve used you guys quite a few times but that was when I first discovered you, that was the first time I supported an international team that was global. Llike…for example, I had international people who are in one, maybe two different countries.
That was the first time I had supported a team where I had different team members in about eight or nine different countries, so at that point then it became a lot more complicated, so at least since, you know, 2017-2018.
Natasha: So at least four years, maybe five.
Amy: Yeah! Going on five! I plan this year too.
Natasha: It’s really great having you with us for such a long time but, when you work on sending corporate gifts, is this just a holiday tradition inside the company to send something for a holiday to an employee or you perceive this more as a you know maybe retention strategy, employee loyalty strategy, what kind of objective is this behind sending gifts?
Amy: Oh, great question! I think … you know based on what you guys offer, I would use it for just about anything whether it be, you know, employees, whether it be holiday, whether it be, you know, an appreciation.
For us, how I predominantly used it has been holidays because we tend to get a much bigger budget and I’ve used it for both external gifts to business to business partners and I’ve used it for employee morale and employee holiday gifts so internal as well, I’ve used it for both. So I recommend it for both.
For me personally, I have found it most useful for holidays because I find at least with the current company I’m with that’s when they’re sending the bigger gifts for employee morale and appreciation internally right now usually it’s like company meals or company events rather than actual gift items. But anytime I’m having to send gifts, definitely you guys.
Natasha: Cool! Do you have any kind of KPIs maybe assigned to sending this like you have a particular budget for gifts but to track the return in some way?
Amy: Correct, great question! So I usually am given a budget, a very strict budget and each company is going to have a metric over what they are willing to spend or what they’re allowed to spend, right? They´re also based on the country and that there are also laws we have to abide by as well. Generally, like for example, for employee gifts I try to stick around to about 75 dollars (USD) per person, and then for external partner guests we try to stick to around 100 per person, a lot of that’s you know for expensing for tax purposes, what we’re writing off etc.
So when I’m looking at what I’m purchasing and whether or not it’s a, you know, the metrics were trying to see if it was worth basically, worth our time. Finance is also obviously being the number one metric and as far as what I’m picking to order I try to get a feel for what that person is looking for. Like do they … are they, you know, vegetarian. Are they, you know, is there a certain holiday going on because you guys offer a lot of really great unique holiday options for tons of different holidays.
I try to look at do they have any allergies, do they have a preference in wine, you know, I try to get all of that up front and you guys offer so many great options it makes that really easy, so those are like my front end metrics. My back end metrics, I haven’t specifically tracked these to say, you know, “Oh yes, we got this many emails from partners, this relationship with this partner improved or employee morale improved, you know, X amount through this”.
I haven’t tried them data wise but I do get tons of responses. I’ve always gotten positive responses from people saying “Oh, that …! You know the way it was decorated was great! Oh, thank you for picking, you know, that I love that particular wine, thank you so much for taking the time to, you know, personally pick that particular brand that I like.”
So I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback in that way and I’ve also gotten a lot of positive feedback from leadership when they see the diversity of options. They love that it’s standardized enough where it’s easy to track budget wise and it’s easy to track shipping but they love that it’s personalized enough, that we don’t have to send the exact same thing to every person, we can change it up, we can tweak it.
And that way each partner, each employee knows that we’ve taken the time to pick a basket that fits them, their needs, their likes, their tastes. I think just taking that extra little step and the option you guys have to add that personalized note. We can send a different little message to each person receiving a gift but on my end, you know, I’m gonna have you put all that in a spreadsheet it’s really neatly organized, it’s all in one place. I think it’s the best thing ever. That has been how I’ve tracked, you know, KPIs, that’s how I’ve been able to track the response we’ve gotten from them which is why I continue to use you.
Natasha: That’s amazing! That’s amazing! I think that it’s a great tracking strategy even if it’s not, you know, data based.
Amy: Right, response based.
Natasha: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Amy have you ever been on the receiving end of the corporate gift process?
Amy: I wish. I’m usually the one sending all the gifts. So I actually haven’t, that would be nice right because you guys offer a lot of great stuff. But you know what, but that’s okay because truthfully I can honestly say I enjoy giving gifts and doing things for people even more than receiving, so I hadn’t actually thought about that I haven’t received one until you asked the question.
Natasha: I’m sure you will be and it’s amazing experience as well. Amy, this kind of, you know, business strategy sending gifts, it still involves a lot of emotional component to this.
Natasha: Do you have any … kind of story that you can share about this, you know, emotional side of things? Someone maybe reacting in some particular way to receiving a corporate gift or maybe something that touched you, that, you know, something that comes to mind when I talk about emotions around corporate gifts.
Amy: Oh, that’s a tough one because I’m sure there are so many good stories. I would say my favorite is the first time when I actually found you guys for the first time. Actually, I did a Google search on gosh there’s got to be a way to send international gifts. I love gift baskets. I’m in a business myself, a small business. I don’t have employees and I’ve taken our products and my little hand deliverable, you know, like Mother’s Day baskets and stuff.
So I really love the basket idea because it offers a variety of, you know, products and usually you could put … it’s almost like putting a piece of art together, you know, what I mean when you’re bundling things and wrapping it nicely and delivering it so I love the emotion behind that. I love the idea of it being thought out, so there’s the emotional attachment to the type of gift, right?
And then when I was looking for that googling, searching for that, something that… I was specifically looking for a vendor that could do this internationally easily. And you guys were I think the top result. All I remember is, I remember looking at the variety of what you had to offer. I can’t remember if I spoke to somebody online or through a phone call first. I think I did. And for the life of me, I could not remember the girl’s name but she was phenomenal and she answered all of my questions, everything, just looked amazing, and it was actually a surprise gift for our team.
This is the first time I was in the tech industry and I remember my manager saying “Hey, I want to surprise the team by sending them, you know, a personalized gift basket for the holidays.” And I want to say it was right when Covid was kind of hitting Europe. So right, but right before we shut down it was that Christmas before but people were kind of already not traveling and they weren’t seeing each other and I remember being able to customize gift baskets based on people’s food and drink preference.
And I got so many emails from the team all over the world and they were just so thankful, they, you know, thanked me for the thoughtfulness of the baskets. I had people tell me “Oh, you know, this is my favorite wine, thank you so much!” or “You didn’t have to do that!”. And I just felt like the team felt unified in a time when we were all feeling so distanced because, you know, travel restrictions were starting to wind up and, you know, people are, we’re a very social group and so that was just a really sweet way for us to connect personally. And I just really like the team unity that came after that again, it wasn’t something I tried metrically but you could just tell the team all felt close even though we were all at very great distance.
Natasha: Yeah, for sure, thank you for sharing. That’s wonderful, I think that was such a difficult time even pre-Covid for everyone and probably gifts is something that can light today a little bit up, so, yeah, thank you…
Amy: I mean who doesn’t like receiving something in the mail…right? As long as it’s not bills! Gifts are great.
Natasha: Yeah, yeah, and surprise gift especially when it’s not something that you expect to come on a particular date.
Natasha: It’s awesome. Amy, last year and earlier this year our tech team introduced a lot of new features (you can find detailed overview here: Corporate Gifting Tools That Help You During The Holiday Season). Basically, they all come to existence because of the Covid, because so many teams were moving to online everything, online meetings, online conferences, town,
Natasha: And many companies started exploring online gift sending as an option for them because of their sending gifts to employees or to partners, to their home.
Natasha: And we had to respond to that with a lot of new features. Did you have a chance to try them? Such as, you know, requesting unknown addresses from recipients, maybe sending the gift invitation instead of the gift itself, last minute sending such as our gift link that allows the person to know that the gift is on its way even before it has arrived, it usually is the last minute option for someone a little bit late with sending a gift. Did you have a chance to try them and if so, how did you like them?
Amy: I’m not a last-minute person, so that’s great that you guys have implemented that because I work for a manager who is a last-minute person. So I, kind of, wish I had the chance to see those features and I liked the idea of notifying people when the gift is coming.
I can’t remember of the top of my head, you know, back in December if I did that but I want to say I did especially for a couple team members who are in the process of moving. So I was having the basket shipped to their new address like they were literally in physical transit of moving states or moving countries. I have two team members of the top of my head I’m thinking of and I want to say I did use that feature. I know it worked well because I know it came to the right address and I know that they got it and I know that they knew the exact day it was getting delivered on. So it must have done its job really well.
And you’re right a lot of companies are transitioning to that online and I even with some people coming back in person, I think the online is here to stay I think e-commerce and Zoom meetings. And you know that what companies need to understand is that reduces overhead for them, it reduces overhead for the individual employee, you know, commuting in and out, and services like this, you guys have transitioned online very well well before the pandemic.
I think you guys are in a great spot to flourish and I think that having services like you guys, you’re already on top of everything, you’re already ahead of the ball, you already make things so simple and easy to navigate that you’re in just such a great position for companies to utilize you. To keep that team unity, to keep that personalized touch while still being able to take advantage of the benefits of being remote, of being a more online type community. I mean look at dating, I would even say 60 of dating now is initiating online right?! So I think it’s a great service to have I think everyone should look at it, I really do and I think it’s the way the future, I really do.
Natasha: Thank you, thank you, that’s great feedback and we’ll continue being here for you serving all your corporate gifting needs and personal as well if you have some.
Amy: But I truly mean that, that’s why I will continue to use you, guys. I think it…my current company, they changed our process for vendors for having … Some type of approval process for making sure, you know, addresses and personal information is protected, right? ‘Cause especially with that’s a change they made during Covid.
And I fought for you guys to get that approval because I was like “I am not going to lose you guys as a vendor,” because from an admin’s prospective what you guys provide and how you provide that service just makes my life so mush easier.
Natasha: I am so glad to hear that. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you for providing all these stories about how you track, I’d still call it “track”, the success of sending gifts and we look forward to seeing you again! In low holiday season or high holiday season whenever you need to send something to your teams, or to your external partners.
Amy: You can count on it.
Natasha: Thank you, thank you so much.
Amy: My pleasure.
Thank you for listening to the GBO Customer Success Story! What’s next?
- – Find the corporate gifting program most suitable for your business;
- – Fill out our gift wizard to receive carefully selected options for your budget;
- – Join us on LinkedIn for special promotions and corporate discounts.
Director of Digital Marketing and Strategy for GiftBasketsOverseas passionate about all-things digital, travel, and wellness. Natasha covers some corporate topics and data analytics and research for the GiftBasketsOverseas blog.