Simple Ways To Say Thanks (written May, 2007)

The most effective ways to build customer loyalty is by saying thanks. And the best way to thank customers and friends for their business is with a letter. You might think that it’s sufficient to just give them a call and thank them over the phone, but a call is not the same! You see with a phone call after you’ve hung up the phone, you cease to exist.

But a letter – that’s different. You took the time – your valuable time – to write to them and it shows. You composed your thoughts and actually put them down on a piece of paper. Then you found an envelope and a stamp, married them together and put your letter in the mail. What courage. What fortitude. What substance.

Now your customer has a personal letter of thanks sitting on his desk right in front of him. Unlike your phone call that little piece of good will can sit on his desk for quite a while.

When you appreciate your customers, they will appreciate you even more. If you take the time to send a customer a nice letter, he’ll think, “Wow – they really are grateful for my business. I’ll go back there!” People like to be appreciated (don’t you?) and what better way than to send a personal note of thanks.

A “thank you” letter also works hard as a great marketing tool for your home business. When you thank your customers for referrals they say, “They really appreciate that referral, what nice folks! We’ll keep our mind open and try to refer some more customers to them!”

Keep it personal – a thank you letter can also be used as part of your marketing campaign. Send thank you letters to your top 100 customers. If you’re in a big business environment, send 1,000 thank you letters. Here’s the trick: even if you mail a million letters – just keep it personal. Make each letter look so personal that the recipient thinks they are the only one receiving it. The campaign will bring you a lot more business.   And it will build customer loyalty. We do it all the time here!

Here’s another idea – surprise your customers with greeting cards, which also is another effective way to thank your customers. You might send cards to people at Christmas, but surprisingly, Christmas is not the best time. In fact, if you’re sending a card at Christmas, bad news: yours is just one of the pack. Pick another holiday: July 4th, Memorial Day, or Halloween even. Your card will stand out and be appreciated.

You can even consider sending your customers cards before daylight savings time. You can hand write at the bottom: “This is a reminder to set your clock back.” or Feb. 29th or on Ground Hog’s Day. Or you know what? On every major holiday.

Here’s other quick and inexpensive ways to say “thank you.”

  1. Under promise and over deliver. Do just a little bit more, write it up with your regular bill and say “no charge” in small print.
  2. Work hard, and bill fairly. It’s not necessary to under bill – just be fair!
  3. Pay your bills promptly. Especially in the small business arena, vendors notice!
  4. Bring jobs in on time – and on budget.
  5. Call people back promptly. Even if it’s just to acknowledge you’ve received their call and you’ll get back to them in depth at a later time.
  6. Thank customers for their orders – each and every time.
  7. Face people and smile when you say thanks. Let them know it’s not an afterthought and you are taking the extra 5 seconds to say it face to face.
  8. Say “Thanks! Thank you very much!” in all your written correspondence. And mean it!
  9. Send them a low-key “thank you” gift, such as a book.
  10. Still my favorite: send out that simple letter saying thanks. It’s inexpensive to do and shows your appreciation. Surprisingly, it’s the best way to get more business, and build loyalty to you and your home-based firm. Don’t forget – it really is a privilege to have customers do business with you. They all could go somewhere else. Do you know what other firms call your best customers? Prospects.

“The toughest thing about being a success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success.”

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.