MARLTON, N.J. — Saying thank you can help keep and create business. Many people just don’t say it often enough. Try this exercise for the next month and track the results. Keep a package of thank you notes in your desk. Every morning before you get into your daily routine, write five notes and mail them (snail mail). This sounds tougher than it really is. Opportunities to say thank you are around you constantly, but we often just overlook them especially in business.
When to send a thank you note:
Referrals — Speak to your staff and find out if you have gotten any clients as the result of a referral from another client. Your clients can be your best sales people. Make sure you tell them how much you appreciate it. This may even get you more referrals.
Comments or feedback — Most people don’t take the time to give you feedback — good or bad. Take a moment and thank the ones who do. Tell them that what they are saying is important to you and that you appreciate the time they spent letting you know the information.
Compliments — If a client takes the time to compliment the company or a staff member, send a note thanking them for the compliment. This reinforces the good feeling they already have about you and the company.
First-time clients — Thank them for using your service. There are many choices out there. Reinforce the fact that they made the best choice.
Meetings or luncheons — Take a moment to thank your client or potential client for taking time to meet with you. Time is money.
When a problem occurs — Mistakes are a great opportunity to thank a customer for their patience and understanding. They also can help diffuse a potential explosive situation.
Gifts — People still do send gifts. Vendors give you sports tickets or buy the office lunch. Thank them for the gift. Let them know you appreciate it.
Above and beyond service — if a vendor or a staff member goes above and beyond, take a moment to say thank you. Customers come in all shapes and sizes. If people feel good about you and the things they do for you, they will tell others.
How to say it:
Avoid email: Although email is fast, it is also very informal. An emailed thank you does not have the same weight as a mailed thank you note. A handwritten note today is not common and it carries a higher level of appreciation.
Be sincere: Don’t send it unless you really do mean it. People see through shallowness.
Be timely: If you get a thank you note for a gift a year later, it does not convey the same sincerity of one that you receive the following week.
Be specific: Tell them what you are thanking them for and why you are thanking them. Hone in on the thoughtfulness or the generosity of the person you are thanking.
Be personal: A form thank you note is only worth the paper it is written on. If you are going to do it, do it right. Make each note customized to the person to whom you are writing.
Dear Mrs. Smith:
Our customer service representative, Lori, told me that you had called and complimented our chauffeur, Scott. Thank you for taking the time to let us know that Scott did an exemplary job for you. We like to spotlight the members of our team who go the extra effort and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know.
I also wanted to let you know that we appreciate your business. If I can do anything to assist you in the future, please do not hesitate to let me know. We look forward to serving you in the future.
Lynn Guini, Owner
Pasta Limousine Company
Sending notes to your clients and potential customers do not just need to be for thanks. Read your business sections of the papers and magazines and send congratulatory notes when you see them mentioned there. If a story is written about them or their company, send a note. When I started working at LCT, I walked in to four notes from operators and a bouquet of flowers wishing me good luck. Believe me, I know who they were and I will remember them.
Writing thank you notes does not have to be a chore. Try sending five a day. Make it a habit instead of a chore and you will find that you will gain business as a result. Clients will know that you don’t take them for granted.
Source: Linda Moore, LCT Magazine