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Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to be thankful.
In fact, if you’re going to run a successful, customer-centric business, it is important that you express gratitude towards your customers regularly.
Here are important tips for writing a thank you letter to your customer, complete with sample thank you letters to help you show your customer how much you appreciate them.
Thanking your customer is one of the golden rules of businesses. Cashiers thank customers for stopping by the store. Pilots thank customers for flying with them. And websites thank customers for their purchase.
But it’s not just business — saying thanks is an important part of any social exchange. We thank each other for holding the elevator, for commenting on our photos on social media, and for giving us gifts. Saying thank you is so integrated into our society, that any degree of positive action often warrants some sort of thanks.
The reason behind our social obsession with thanking each other is the same reason why thanking your customer pays off: the rule of reciprocation.
The rule of reciprocation is simple. When someone does something nice for us, we are programmed to want to return the favor. If someone invites us to a party, we feel obliged to invite them to one of ours. If someone holds the elevator for us, we feel obliged to say thank you, and perhaps even hold the door on the way out. And, if a company takes the time to thank and nurture its relationship with us, we feel compelled to return the favor in how we spend our money.
Robert B. Cialdini’s best-selling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, explores the rule of reciprocation as a behavioral motivator. Research, he says, has shown that feeling indebted to one another is a unique human adaption mechanism that allowed our ancestors to give to each other without that gift being lost (I give you a fish today, you give me medicine when I’m ill). Our ancestors — like us — didn’t like being indebted to others, and naturally wanted to return something of similar value to what had been given. (Those who didn’t were socially shamed.) This psychological phenomenon is what planted the seeds of trade, financial transactions, and modern business.
While a simple “thank you for your purchase!” on your website is unlikely to inspire lifelong loyalty, writing your customer a thank you letter is just the kind of personalized, thoughtful, and time consuming action that will inspire reciprocation — hopefully in the form of repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising.
Studies show that 68% of customers stop dealing with a company because of what they perceive as indifference (this, to customers, breaks the rule of reciprocation). Thank you letters are an important part of making your customers feel valued, and letting them know how much you appreciate them. They are an inexpensive way to increase sales, return on investment (ROI), and customer retention.
Ready to send your customer a thank you letter? Here are some things to consider before your pen hits the paper:
Consider who is on the receiving end of your letter (in other words, who is your customer)? Are they a business or a person? A loyal customer or one who has just joined the family? Are you writing to one special customer or many?
Consider the content of your letter. Have they recently made a purchase from you? Did they give you feedback on an important issue? Did they contact your company for support?
Consider the format of your thank you letter to the customer. Are you going to hand write your letter or type it up? Is it going to go on paper, or in a card? Will it be a letter per se, or more of a thank you note? Is it appropriate to send an additional token of your appreciation along with the letter (a discount, a fruit basket, etc.)?
Be sure to consider what information you have available from your customer when deciding this. For example, if you only have an email address, you may have to stick with a thank you email (although we recommend choosing good old snail mail whenever possible!). You might also want to consider time as a factor. While handwritten thank you letters are often better received than their typed counterparts, handwriting hundreds of letters isn’t exactly practical if you are in a crunch for time (in this case you might want to type up the letters, or stick with shorter handwritten thank you notes).
When writing a thank you letter to a customer, be sure to do the following:
Customers value timely action, which is why the sooner you send your thank you letter, the better. A quickly sent thank you letter says that even though you are a busy person, you can take time out of your day to make your customer a priority. It also ensures that your customer will actually remember the conversation or action that you are thanking them for.
Sending a timely thank you letter to your customer isn’t only beneficial to them as the recipient: it’s also helpful for you as the writer. When you send a thank you note promptly after an interaction, details of the exchange will still be fresh in your mind. That means you can write a more personalized, valuable thank you letter than you could were you to do so a week or two later.
By sending a timely thank you letter, you are also ensuring you don’t forget to send it completely (hey, it happens!). If you are too busy to write your letter right then and there (or if doing so would interfere with your workflow), mark it in your calendar for when you have time. Jot down the customer’s name, and something that you can remember them by for when you do get around to sending your thank you letter.
A good business thank you letter should be relatively brief and to the point. You want to say thank you without overwhelming your customer with information, or unsightly blocks of text.
That being said, don’t necessarily steer away from longer letters if the situation (or your writing style) calls for it — just do your best to make sure that your thoughts are well-defined, meaningful and organized!
Sure you’re thankful, but why? What is it that makes this particular customer special? What have they contributed to your organization?
When telling your customer why you are thankful, specificity is key. Being specific in your thank you letter will naturally make the letter more personalized, and heartfelt.
For example, instead of writing something like this:
You can write something like this:
People are great at sniffing out insincerity. We can sense it a mile away (or even perceive insincerity where there is none). That’s because we value real, quality, exchanges with one another. Your customers no different — which is why if you’re writing to show them your gratitude, it’s important that you mean it.
One great way to convey sincerity is to avoid self-promotional material in your letter. As Cheryl Russel, author of Thankyouology: How The Art of Saying Thank You Transforms Your Life, says: “A thank you note carries the most sincerity when it is the only reason for writing rather than adding it on to some other type of correspondence.”
Another way to convey sincerity is via your tone and word choice. Don’t write a thank you letter to your customer that is overly formal or stuffy. Avoid generic statements that make your letter sound like you copy and pasted it. And, be sure to follow our next point.
One thank you letter from a real person is worth more than a billion automated ones.
Greet your customer by name — never with “dear valued customer.” Connect with them as an individual, not as a company (companies are, after all, made up of people). You can do this by using the personal “I” rather than a corporate “we.”
Don’t be afraid to show emotion in your thank you letter — using an earnest, human tone can help you win big sincerity points. At the end of the letter sign off with your name.
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A big part of what makes a thank you letter truly valuable is the amount of warmth it conveys. Being warm is all about being compassionate, open, and approachable. This too, you can achieve with the right words.
Here are some ideas of warm words and phrases to use in a thank you letter to your customer.
Use a caring signoff:
you can get extra points from your customers, and potential publicity on social media.
Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts of using humor in your business thank you letter:
Source: DebbieDrawsFunny Etsy
A funny or clever thank you note can get double the mileage that a regular one gets. If you can think of a way to use humor organically in your thank you note,
Sometimes, actions speak louder than words. If you want to truly wow your customer, consider throwing in a little something as a token of your appreciation.
This can be something small, such as a voucher for a free item, stickers, a patch, or another symbolic bonus item. Or, it could be something larger, such as a gift card, fruit basket, and more.
Gifts that are a bigger investment can prove profitable by solidifying important business relationships and/or giving you free publicity, such as when the Gaylord Opryland thanked a blogger with a free clock that she had inquired about on Twitter. The post went viral and the Gaylord Opryland was widely recognized for the example of extraordinary customer service and social media marketing.
The thank you card reads:
Thank you for following us on Twitter. We hope you enjoy these spa sounds at home. If you need anything, please let us know.
Elizabeth, Nick and Tori
While it isn’t sustainable to give large freebies to everyone, some things you can give at little or no cost to your organization. To decide if and what to send to your customer, consider your relationship, as well as their needs. Is there anything that you can give them as a token of thanks that will make them smile?
Now more than ever, many people have fallen out of custom of writing or receiving handwritten letters. Which is why writing a handwritten thank you letter or card can set your business apart an extra mile.
Handwritten notes are the ultimate indicator of time you put into that customer (after all, you can’t copy and paste handwriting). Handwritten thank you letters put a human face (er… hand) on your organization, and make customers feel closer to you.
If you don’t like your handwriting don’t worry. Everyone’s handwriting is unique, and that’s part of what makes handwritten letters so special — they feel authentic. you may not want to do this for a formal business thank you letter, this is great for a casual, human demonstration of gratitude towards your customers.
When sending a thank you letter to a customer, keep it clean. Don’t excessively fold or crumple the letter. Don’t send a letter or card that is torn. And, if you spill anything on the letter, write a new one.
When handwriting, make sure that your letter is legible. If you make a mistake while writing start over — don’t leave a giant scribble on the paper if you can help it. To help avoid this, check any spellings you aren’t sure of as you write, and keep a bottle of liquid white out near your desk in the event of emergencies. Use black pen for the most professional look: Avoid red pen, as it’s harder to read.
What’s better than a thank you letter to a customer on white paper? A thank you card.
By incorporating a simple, visual design, you are showing your customer an extra layer of thoughtfulness. One way that you can do this by purchasing premade thank you cards or stationary. Another is by designing your own custom thank you cards that are unique to your company.
If you choose to go this route, make sure not to design anything that’s too flashy or that shows off your company too much. A subtle use of your company logo is fine, but remember: you’re trying to thank your customer, not shove a promotion down their throat (the thank you letter will remind your customer of your brand and promote your brand naturally).
Use a heavier, higher quality paper to make your thank you card or letter more impressive. The higher the quality of your card, the more valuable your customer will feel.
Thank you letters don’t have to be drab. Get creative with the aesthetic, content, and tokens of appreciation used in your thank you note, and stand out from the competition.
Send a card that’s original, unique, and that fits your customer’s personal aesthetic and they might even hang it up.
The last thing you want is your attempt to impress your customer ending in a flop. Proofread your thank you letter before sending it out to leave your customer with the best possible impression.
The same fate that junk email meets can also happen to junk snail mail: going straight into the trash.
Send your thank you letter smartly so that your audience will be enticed to open it. For example, a handwritten envelope is more attention-grabbing than a typed, corporate envelope. If you are using fun stationary or a thank you card, you can also get a catchy envelope to match.
Another way to guarantee reception of your thank you note is by grouping it in with an order or package. Your customer will already be happy to have their package, and will receive an extra lift when they find a personalized message of gratitude in the contents.
If you’re sending your thank you letter a bit late, consider sending it via express delivery.
Gratitude isn’t a one-and-done activity — try to cultivate a culture of gratitude within your business to make crafting thank you letters a regular practice.
In his article, “The ROI of Gratefulness,” Dave Kerpen shares how he adopted this practice:
These thank you notes helped Kerpen build loyalty and pride amongst his customers and team. And, they made him feel happier too. “The amazing thing about gratefulness and unselfishness is this: Whether or not there’s an immediate return on investment in business value, there’s always an immediate result in your happiness,” says Kerpen. “You can be sure that a happier you is a more productive you.”
Use these thank you letter samples to create your own winning thank you letters, notes, and cards.
Thank you for contacting us on Friday about our software! I’m glad that I could help clear up any doubts about how the program works, and whether your business would be a good candidate for our trial.
If there’s anything you need, feel free to contact me personally. I’m always happy to help. I hope you and Emily enjoy the holiday!
Thank you and your team for joining us here at Website.com! It was a pleasure meeting you Thursday and having the privilege of walking you through the sign up process. You and your team had excellent comments, and a great vision for building your site — I’m excited to work with you and see what we will come up with together!
Sending my best,
Thank you for the comment you posted to our Facebook page about the problem during the checkout process on our website! It wasn’t just you — when we checked it out we got an error message, too! Fortunately, our tech team began investigating as soon as we read your comment, and now the process is smooth sailing again. We’re listening, and we owe you one!
If there’s anything at all you need from us, just give us a shout! Your feedback is a vital part of perfecting the service we work so hard to bring our customers.
Thanks again and have an awesome day,
Aaron and your friends at Blue Shoes
Wow, I noticed that you’ve been our customer for 5 years! Thank you so much for sticking with us — it’s people like you that keep our wheels turning!
I’ve enclosed with this card a voucher for a free ride on our bus line. You can use this voucher any time towards any destination: like our love for you, it never expires.
We look forward to serving you again soon!
Thank you for purchasing our camping hammock! Your purchase means the world to us — we love it when new customers give us a shot! Here’s to hoping we make you proud. If there’s anything I can do for you in the future, please let me know — I’m all ears!
I wanted to thank you personally for your donation to the Wildlife Freedom Fund. The money you gave us is going towards building a wildlife reserve in India. We have already acquired the land, and are currently building facilities to give neglected street animals with mange the treatment, love and care that they so desperately need. And we owe it to you!
Enclosed is a photo of the property, and of Parker and Aalia — the latest members of our furry family.
Thanks a million — from our team and the animals!
Sam and your friends at WFF
Each thank you letter that you write to your customers is a little gift of time, thought, and effort. We hope that these tips and thank you letter samples will help you pull together a message of gratitude that will win you customers for life.
For more on thanking your customers, check out our blog post, 5 Clever Ways to Use Your Thank You Page.
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