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Saying Thank You
by Carasue moody

We tend to remember the people who have taken the time to thank us for the business we’ve given them or for some help we’ve been able to offer. Thank-you means that we’re appreciated and we all enjoy knowing that. Saying “thank you” isn’t a one-way gesture. The person who says it benefits as much as the person who’s received it. For example, when a waiter or waitress makes us feel welcome and shows appreciation for our choosing their restaurant by giving us prompt and courteous service, we reciprocate by tipping generously. We enjoy their attention and pampering and they enjoy our monetary gratuity.

Recently a family friend of mine took his car to a body shop to have the hood replaced after a tree limb fell during a storm and dented it. He was told the repair would take three days. It actually took only two days. When he picked up his car, it had been washed, the interior vacuumed, and a travel mug had been left for him on the seat as a gift. He was very impressed with the body shop’s service and extra niceties. But in addition to that, two days later he received a thank-you note from them in the mail. That was the clincher! That last formal thank-you, on top of the excellent service had such a rousing effect on him that he made a point of telling everyone he knew how pleased he was with the body shop. Although satisfying the customer is important, a simple thank-you can make the difference between a satisfied customer and one who will sing your praises loudly. The inexpensive car wash, mug and note will probably reap new business for the body shop.

Thank-you gifts are usually proportionate with the amount of the customer’s sales volume. Every sale deserves a thank-you in some form but a customer who buys from you frequently or in high dollar figures should be entitled to a more expensive show of appreciation. Tickets to a big sporting event or musical concert are a very nice way to let those customers know how much you value their business. Some companies sponsor golf outings for their customers, or host picnics, or an invitational “open house” gathering or reservations for a paid “get-away” weekend for two.

If you business’s entertainment budget can’t yet allow such extravagance, there are many other ways of acknowledging loyal customers without resorting to ordinary and common gifts like letter openers, T-shirts, baseball caps, and the like. If you take the time to get to know those people a little more personally, you may uncover a unique way of ensuring they’ll remember you. Find out what their hobbies and interests are; that kind of food or music they like; how many children or grandchildren they have; if they’re art enthusiasts; if they enjoy horticulture or gardening, or if they are partial to a certain kind of animal or pet. After learning these little clues you can find a less expensive gift that can deliver a thank-you in a personal way. Giving a customer his favorite candy, music CD or food basket, a bonsai planter, a nice frame to display his family pictures on his or her desk, or a hand-made pen and pencil set can leave a lasting impression because the gift is personally tailored to his or her interests. Stop in to see him or her on a slow day and surprise them with your gift. Sometimes those little spontaneous gestures make more of an impression than gifts given during the holiday season when businesses are bombarded with cookies, cakes and holiday cheer.

Doing anything that reminds a customer of you and says “I appreciate your business” is a good thing to do. It tells them that you know they may have considered buying from your competition but chose your company instead and that you are aware that you success depends on people like them. Their choice should be acknowledged and thanked. Just by making a call to thank them personally – and without making an attempt to solicit another sale – can make a positive impact on your business relationship. Customizing your thank-you whenever possible is sure to score points for you, but whatever you do, be sure to show your customers your appreciation.