When Nevada Title Co. wanted to send a truly memorable holiday card to its clients, it sponsored a contest for the students of a local elementary school to design the card, says Patti Speer, an executive assistant with the Las Vegas-based firm.
Speer addresses every card she sends by hand to ensure that recipients "feel really appreciated for their business," she says.
However, for many admins, client lists have grown so long that giving each card and gift a personal touch can sap one's holiday spirit. Here are some tips to keep the process from turning you into the office Grinch.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) and numerous other vendors offer online greeting-card mailing services that are easy to administer.
At the USPS Web site, customers may choose a card design, or they can upload their own graphic, company logo and/or signature scans. Then they may either manually enter individual addresses or import an entire mailing list. USPS prints up the cards and mails them.
The cost for this type of service typically falls with increased mailing volume. This service is efficient; address lists can be stored and reused for future mailings.
Another way to maintain the seasonal spirit while saving time and money is to send e-cards, says Patricia Rideout CPS, a secretary at Health Care Corp. of St. John's in Newfoundland, Canada.
For the past two years, Rideout's department has used a graphics editing package to add personalized holiday greetings and scans of staff signatures. The end result resembles a signed postcard, which can be emailed using Outlook's stationery option.
Seasonal Gifts on a Budget
Company cost cuts and new regulations regarding gift expenses have limited overall gift spending. This has made it more challenging to select gifts, Speer says. "Last year, we sent a gift basket from a brownie company," she says.
The Sacramento, California, office of Vanir Construction Management Inc. uses only one gift vendor to assure quality and save time and money, says senior administrative assistant Kelly Kelley, CPS. The company selected a vendor with access to other vendors that provide engraved gifts for a more personal touch.
Avoid the Christmas Rush
While this may sound Scrooge-like, skipping Christmas cards and gifts may make good business sense, suggests Rick Stroud, communications manager of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Clients and customers are flooded with mailings in December, so your greeting might stand out more if it came at another time, such as Thanksgiving, New Year's, the first day of spring, your company's founding anniversary or customer birthdays.
"Be creative in choosing an event or ‘off-peak' holiday," Stroud says. "Your card or gift will stand out more from the crowd."