Hot Topics:

Giving Thanks to Your Customers

Use this simple but effective way to build a loyal customer base.

By the time November arrives each year, you’ve likely spent 10 very busy months in your work to attract and satisfy your customers. It’s hard work to consistently deliver compelling products backed by superlative customer service. As many successful folks know, developing a base of loyal customers is the veritable lifeblood of any business.

So, when the season of Thanksgiving arrives, it’s a perfect time to reflect on how valuable your customers are to you and, as such, to reach out and let them know precisely that. All it takes is a simple thank-you note to connect with your customers, displaying your sincerity in recognizing their importance to your business. Here’s how to give thanks to your customers in a simple yet effective way they’ll remember.

Thank-you notes still work

While it might seem so “old fashioned” to send an actual thank-you note when considering our modern-day digitized world, the fact is that your customers will notice and remember an actual handwritten greeting. Why? Simply enough, a handwritten thank-you takes time and effort, both in its preparation and in the steps necessary to actually mail it, yes, using that old fashioned snail mail.

Sure, it’s simplest if you just e-mail a “thank you,” right? Either bang out a couple of quick sentences or cut and paste a pre-written overture—then just click “send.” Yes, it is simple, which is why most e-mail inboxes are flooded with such messaging with most (if not all) of it summarily deleted without ever being read. If, however, you receive an actual envelope in the mail, addressed to you, personally, chances are you’ll quickly open and read it. To truly reach out and give thanks to customers in a meaningful and memorable way, you’ll need to use a real card, a real envelope and a real stamp. It’s the making of a real thank-you and—good news—it’s not real hard to do.

Direct customer interactions, such as thank-you notes, can have measurable effects on a business’ bottom line

Giving thanks is easier than you think

A thank-you card doesn’t need to be super-stylish or conspicuously extravagant. In fact, when you send a simple thank-you card (think of the standard 5.5-by-4-inch size), you’ll keep the focus on the message and your customer. Here’s how to craft each thank you:

  • Personalize the note, of course, being sure to spell the recipient’s name correctly.
  • Express a simple yet heartfelt sentiment that indicates how you value the customer.
  • Indicate your desire to continue serving the customer in the future (but refrain from making it read like a sales pitch).
  • Provide a method for the customer to contact you directly, i.e., company address, phone number, e-mail address, etc.

Here’s an example of how a simple yet satisfying thank-you card will read:

Dear Anne,

In this season of gratitude, we thank you for your business. We know you have many choices of where to shop these days and, as such, we truly value your patronage and appreciate your confidence in our products and services. We’ll continue to work hard to bring you more of what you want, when you want it.

For now, please accept our best wishes for you and yours during this festive season.

Sincerely,

It’s that simple. And while you might wonder if you can handwrite such a note for all of your customers, that depends upon the size of your customer base. If such a task would be overwhelming, at least craft and send notes to your best customers (based upon frequency of purchases or value of purchases). It’s also reasonable to send a thank-you note with a pre-printed greeting, hand signed to still incorporate that personal touch.

How can a ‘thank-you’ boost (or bust) your business?

On the surface it might seem that a thank-you note wouldn’t have much impact on your business. After all, some see it as an antiquated means of engagement, which surely couldn’t have much impact in today’s high-volume messaging marketplace. Not so. Actually, recent studies have indicated that direct customer interactions, such as thank-you notes and other messaging, can have measurable effects on a business’ bottom line.

Consider these eye-opening statistics, gleaned from the Harvard Business Review, The U.S. Small Business Association and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce:

  • The cost of acquiring new customers is nearly five to seven times more expensive than satisfying and retaining an existing customer.
  • The average company can lose 50 percent of its customers every five years (which invokes that cost of acquiring new customers to fill the gap).
  • A mere 2 percent increase in customer loyalty, by repeat business, can have the same effect as decreasing your business costs by 10 percent.
  • Each month you neglect to contact or communicate with your customers, you risk losing their loyalty, especially if they’re being entertained by competitors.
  • A simple thank-you letter to your customers can work to increase your business, both with that established customer as well as with those friends to whom that customer would recommend you or your business.
  • Today, less than 3 percent of the mail we receive is personal. When your mail box contains a card or letter personally addressed to you, you notice (and so do your customers).

Clearly, if you’re going to spend money on advertising and product placement to attract and acquire customers, shouldn’t you put as much or more effort in retaining those who have already purchased from you? The good news is that with something as simple as a thank-you card, you can easily keep your customers close to you by keeping in regular contact with them. And, while it is most fitting to give your thanks during the Thanksgiving season, any time is a perfect time to send a personal note to let your customers know how grateful you are for their continued business.

About the author

Dennis L. Prince
Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay...and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



Newsletter Signup

Subscribe!