Five of the Worst Customer Service Appreciation Week Gifts and How to Avoid Them


Over our 80-year history in the employee engagement and recognition industry, C.A. Short Company has written extensively about how you can make the most of Customer Service Appreciation Week and give gifts your employees will treasure for years to come. This article will instead focus on some of the worst customer service appreciation week gifts we’ve seen, as well as how to avoid them. Because, let’s face it, no one wants a cheap pen with their name on it. 

In no particular order…

# 1 Poorly Thought Out Gift Cards

Is there anything more annoying than receiving a gift card you know you would never use? While iTunes cards might be great for iPhone owners, they don’t do very much for the 100 million + Americans using a phone powered by Android. It’s equally frustrating when companies give employees gift cards with balances so low they have to use their own money to complete a purchase.

A perfect example of this occurs when a company gives a $20 gift certificate to a pricey restaurant. Not only will the employee have to pay additional money to receive an entrée, but they’ll also have to pay taxes and tip. While it was certainly a nice thought, the only thing you really gave your employee was a bill.

# 2 Candy and Food Items

When giving employees a thank you gift, candy and food items are a poor choice. 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, and you can be certain that at least one of your employees fall into this category. You certainly don’t want a team member riding in an ambulance because the box of chocolates you gave them was “processed in a facility that manufactures peanuts.” The risks are just too high. And even if your team doesn’t have any severe allergies, many Americans have other dietary restrictions or simply choose to avoid a number of food products and types.

#3 Products Featuring a Misspelled Name

If you’re giving an employee a gift with their name on it, double check spelling. This is the quickest way your gift, which should be designed to show your employees they’re appreciated, will make them feel like the company doesn’t care about them. Trust me, Jan doesn’t won’t a mug that says how great of an employee “Jane” is.

#4 Gifts that Only Praise the Company

Customer Service Appreciation Week should be a time where you show your employees how much you appreciate them. So, a shirt that reads “Our Company Is #1” probably isn’t going to cut it. A shirt, in and of itself, is not a terrible idea – just make sure it’s one the employee would want to wear. And, most importantly, make sure the focus is on your employees and not just the organization.

#5 Alcohol

Unless you work at Jack Daniels, giving all your employees alcohol may not be the wisest decision. Some of your employees may not drink. Others may not like the type of alcohol they were given. And, worst of all, you could have an employee that struggles with addiction. If you don’t know the employee very well, restrain from giving this type of gift.

Doing It Right

It’s critical for your company to make this upcoming Customer Service Appreciation Week one your employees will remember – just make sure they’re not remembering it for the wrong reasons! For some quality ideas that will make a big impact, you can check out our article here.  Keep in mind, showing your employees they’re appreciated isn’t something you do one week a year. It needs to be a continual process, and every member of your team needs to be involved.

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Topics: Employee Recognition, Employee Engagement, Celebrate Customer Service, Appreciation

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.