Time to say thanks

Meister Eckhart (1260–1327), German theologian, said, “If the only prayer you every say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it will be enough.”

Deborah Norville, American journalist, businesswoman, and anchor of TV’s Inside Edition, said, “Thank you consists of just eight letters that form two of the most meaningful words in the English vocabulary.”

William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), author, said, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘Thank you’”?

Some companies wait until November to show their appreciation to their customers for the past year’s business. Now, in this electronic business period, “Thank you!” may be one of the single most important things you can say to your customers.

I’m reminded of Sam Walton’s advice that, “There is only one boss — the customer. And he can fire everybody from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Now more than ever before, customers need to know they are appreciated or they’ll use their “boss power” to shop around.

Clearly, customer appreciation is one of the most important marketing functions in today’s business environment. Thanking customers should be part of every customer service training program. In his book The Accidental Salesperson, author Chris Lytle said, “A three line handwritten thank you note has more impact than a computer generated one.” He goes on to say that “There you go” has replaced “Thank you” in many transactions.

I’ve noticed how many bank tellers at drive-up windows now say, “You’re all set.” What happened to “Thank you”?

Lytle goes on to say that printing thank you on a receipt doesn’t take the place of a genuine thank you, just like sending out a form letter doesn’t take the place of a handwritten note.



Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy said, “We’re living in what I like to call the ‘Thank You Economy,’ because only companies that can figure out how to mind their manners in a very old fashioned way — and do it authentically — are going to have a prayer of competing.”

There are many ways to say “Thank you” to customers. Many are free. Here are a few ideas to get you started on showing customers how important they are:

  • Send out handwritten thank you notes after customers have their products or receive their service. This can be just a short note telling why the company appreciated the business.
  • Answer the phone. Don’t expect customers to be happy when they have to navigate through voicemail jail. Taking time to answer phones shows that your business is customer friendly.
  • Follow up! What better way to stay in touch with what a customer needs and wants — and to show customers that the company really cares. When you take the time to follow up, you stand out from the competition.
  • Be enthusiastic about every contact with the customer, no matter how big or how small. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Customer interactions should be fun.
  • Keep in mind that customers have choices. A sincere thank you gets noticed.

The Thanksgiving holiday month is the perfect time to show clients how much they are appreciated and loved. I always remember what Walt Disney said — “People spend money when and where they feel good.” We all can help customers feel good when we give them a great big “THANK YOU!”

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