by Debra Schmidt
The words are simple enough to say–“thank you.” Then why is it so rare for customers to hear them? What’s even more rare is for customers to see those words in writing.
Consumers are starved for recognition. They want to be noticed, valued and appreciated by the people with whom they do business. A primary reason that customers stop doing business with a company is because they don’t hear those words, or they’re not communicated with sincerity.
Thanking your customers needs to be at the top of your daily “to do” list. When customers receive a handwritten “thank you” note with no strings attached, it is a powerful way to let them know they are truly valued.
Here are four ways that a handwritten “thank you” note builds customer loyalty:
1. It’s unexpected.
Customers simply do not expect to feel appreciated. A simple thank you note will surprise your customers and give them something positive about your company to tell their friends. That’s why it’s so important to send a “thank you” with no strings attached. Don’t enclose your business card or information about a “special offer.” Keep the message pure.
2. It’s personal.
Don’t use a label for the envelope. A handwritten address and note is more likely to be opened and read by your customer. The fact that you were willing to take the extra time needed to write the message tells your customer that you are sincere.
3. It’s classy.
Handwritten “thank you” notes are viewed as outdated. In the old days, it was considered a disgrace to forget to send a “thank you” note to someone who has done something nice for you. You can probably think of times when your kind deeds or gifts have gone unacknowledged. Every time a customer chooses to do business with you, he or she is giving you a gift. Employees that send handwritten “thank you” notes will stand out from the crowd because it is a classy thing to do.
4. It’s contagious.
The more “thank you” notes you send, the more “seeds” of goodwill you plant. This will benefit you and the company for which you work. Your customers will recognize that you do value them. When customers feel appreciated, they are generally more pleasant and refer more business.
Thank your customers when:
- They refer a new customer. This one’s important because word-of-mouth advertising is what keeps a company healthy.
- They suggest how you could improve service or other aspects of the business. When your customers feel they’ve been heard, they automatically feel valued.
- They reach milestone anniversaries as a loyal customer; one year, five years, ten years, etc. A little gift could be included with these “thank you” notes.
- They’ve been patient with service glitches such as a delayed shipping dates, long telephone hold times, web site problems, or other issues. This lets your customers know that you recognize the value of their time.
- * They’ve made your day brighter due to their positive attitudes. It’s a great way to guarantee more smiles in the future.
- They purchased a product or service based on your recommendation. Your customers haven taken some risk when they trust you enough to act on your advice.
- They compliment you, especially in front of another customer or better yet–your boss. Customers like to hear that their positive comments made a difference.
- They complain and give you the opportunity to resolve the problem. These customers care enough to give your company a second chance.
- They turn down your sales pitch because your product or service wasn’t the right fit for them. Just because a customer or prospect says “no” doesn’t mean there won’t be another opportunity to do business with them in the future.
It’s easy and fun to send notes to your customers. Just set aside 10-15 minutes each day to write three notes. It’s just that simple. By the end of the week, you’ll have sent 15 “thank you” notes. Now, imagine if every employee in your company took the time to send three “thank you” notes each day. That’s a lot of customer appreciation!
Building customer loyalty is the responsibility of every employee within an organization. Customer loyalty is earned by developing positive relationships, one customer and co-worker at a time. Full of interesting tips, quizzes and compelling true stories of good, bad and ugly customer service, Building Customer Loyalty from the Inside Out illustrates why exceptional service must start within an organization in order to build loyalty with external customers.
Debra J. Schmidt, a.k.a. “The Loyalty Leader®”, helps companies boost their profits by leading them to greater customer, employee and brand loyalty. Learn more at: TheLoyaltyLeader.com