Card of Thanks
THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
As we set out to establish our brand, there is an interesting effect that takes place. Entrepreneurs tend to begin separating their brand from what we expect personally from any other brand or business. We fall into traps that if another brand did it to us, we would quickly identify the problems and even go so far as to voice the slight. Often this is referred to as “losing the personal touch.” This can be problematic. When someone knows they are dealing with a lone entrepreneur, they expect the ‘personal touch’ to be there. These can be things such as feeling that they will get a direct call back or email response from the company, rather than getting “lost in the shuffle.” The smaller the brand, the better the customer service or customer experience expected.
This is why the customer experience is something that needs to be a major focus. It is actually one area that brands today are feeling they need to spend a large amount of money to “improve the overall experience.” With large companies saying that they are going to spend large amounts of money on making these improvements, many entrepreneurs do not think that they can afford to improve their customer’s experience. If you fall into this group—thinking that you need a large budget—you need to remove this fallacy from your mindset. Often you can make small improvements that will have a significant impact on your customer’s experience. These small items are often met by returning to established elements that often get overlooked. One of these items is thank-you notes. Yup, you read that correctly—thank-you cards.
A Card of Thanks
Dating back centuries, thank-you cards have been used to express gratitude to someone for something they did. I’m sure we have all, at some point, seen a thank-you card or, perhaps, you even helped fill one out, like after your wedding. When it comes to thank-you cards, many people feel that they might be too personal. While they are personal, what needs to happen is a shift in understanding how the thank-you card is personal. The personal connection emphasis needs to be placed on connecting with the customer personally, on their end.
Surprising things happens with thank-you cards. While everyone expects or longs for recognition for things that they have done, they also desire to feel appreciated. This is where thank-you cards come in handy. By sending out a thank-you card, you are providing the recognition and you are showing appreciation to the customer. Another surprising thing happens when you send a thank-you card—it causes a disruption. While everyone knows what a thank-you card is, everyone seems to be surprised and excited when they receive one. This is because we have been conditioned in today’s commercial world, that saying ‘thanks’ or ‘thank-you’ is only expected as almost a throw away after money has changed hands. This disruption, as well-known as it is, is welcome because it is a surprise to the receiver.
Receiving a sincere thank-you from a business tends to build lasting memories—this is how surprising of an experience it is for many people. Discussing this topic with my wife, she remembered receiving a handwritten thank-you card from a business several years ago. I’ve heard stories from people where they were approached by someone ten years after sending a thank-you card, who then told the sender how much it meant to them.
Show Your Thankfulness
Getting started with sending thank-you cards is not hard. You can go out and find pre-made cards if you want. This will get you moving, however ideally what you’ll want is to get your own custom cards produced. This is because if you find a card on a store shelf somewhere you might be ok for a while but when you need to replenish your stock, the card you’ve been using may be gone or not produced anymore. Fill out the card and send it within a reasonable time from the point of interaction that you have determined warrants a thank-you. If you want your card to mean even more to the recipient, you need to hand-write your card. At the very least hand-sign your thank-you card. This helps the recipient form a personal bond with your brand, as they’ll notice the personal effort you put into filling out the card. Printing your thank-you cards will give the impression that your customers are just another number, and you’ll lose that personal connection. If you have multiple people in your organization, the person who had contact with the recipient should be the one to send the card. If you have a higher-priced item, consider a thank-you from the CEO or head person in your business sent in additionto the other card. These should not be combined but, rather, done at the same time, so the recipient receives two different cards. By implementing these simple thank-you cards into your brand strategy and making it an integral part of your customers experience, you’ll be thankful you did.
Ideas To Make Your Brand Better Now:
- Find thank-you cards that are consistent with your brand
- Determine the action needed to trigger a thank-you card
- Start sending out your cards