Several factors influence a business transaction, but the most pressing one is the human element. While savvy business owners understand the importance of connecting with their patrons, many tend to overlook the significance of an unassuming “thank you.” Yet in our highly competitive, consumer-driven economy, customers no longer hope for such gratitude from vendors—they expect it.
Let’s take a look at the ways your thankfulness may have seemed insincere in the past, and how it can be improved moving forward.
Forgettable, Boring & Buried: The “Thank You” That Doesn’t Deliver
Saying “thanks” has become an almost mechanical gesture, offering about as much warmth and personality as an invoice, a pop-up order confirmation, or an email receipt. Unfortunately, this gives your customers the impression that you only value their money.
Some of the problems plaguing companies’ thank-you messages include:
Adding an exclamation point to your “Thank you!” doesn’t make it any more compelling—and especially not if the message that follows reads like it was written by a machine. Too often, businesses drown their friendly sentiments within reams of impersonal transactional information and fail to create any sort of human connection.
Bland, Uninspired Messaging
Your customers bought your products, referred a friend, or plugged your company because they were excited about your business. That excitement can quickly dissipate once a disappointingly generic “thank you” message arrives. You’ve just missed a great chance to make a lasting impression.
Pushy Up-Sells & Not-So-Hidden Agendas
Saying thanks is about recognizing the value of your customers, not demanding more of them. A well-delivered “thank you” can generate additional sales, but hammering a customer with an ineloquent invitation to “Buy more now!” or “Refer a friend!” drives a wedge instead of building a relationship.
Beginning to Think—and Thank—Differently
Improving your “thank you” starts by understanding that instead of recognizing transactions, you need to acknowledge the people behind them.
Treating customers as individuals is the cornerstone of a winning “thank you” strategy. As noted by Gary Vaynerchuk in his book The Thank You Economy:
It’s still so rare for anyone to be personally acknowledged by a brand that the impact of such a simple, polite gesture on a customer’s buying habits could be huge.
Based on your growing relationships with your customers, you should have a reasonably accurate picture of what they like, want, and need. So you can use this information to craft a validating thank-you message.
- Address your customers by name.
- Be specific about why you’re thanking them.
- Consider highly personalized messages for first-time buyers, significant purchases, or longstanding customers.
Keep It Simple & Sincere
A thank-you message should be concise and authentic. This could mean sending an email that’s free of jargon, technical details, or instructions in order to let patrons know that you truly appreciate their business.
Add Some Value
There’s a fine line between flagrantly begging for another sale and providing an incentive that benefits the customer. But don’t be misled—adding value to the customer experience can come in various forms.
- Offer insider perks and benefits.
- Give them a discount on their next purchase.
- Invite them to refer a friend or share their experience in exchange for free product, a discount, or other personalized rewards.
- Provide them with free resources or helpful information (but keep it brief).
- Entertain them—provide an interesting tidbit that reminds them of your business and offers a little mental refreshment.
- Boost their ego—consider thanking your customers publicly on your website or various social mediums, where appropriate.
Customers might expect a thank-you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t surprise them. Take the time to leave a lasting impression and stand out from the norm.
- Take it offline! Consider sending handwritten thank-you notes to customers who buy online, or offer them tangible rewards like available product or gift cards. Brainstorm ways you can interact with them away from the Web, anything from throwing a party for local customers to meeting one-on-one with major buyers.
- Celebrate your customers’ birthdays or the anniversaries of their first sign-up or purchase. Or send them something for free—just because.
- Thank those who offer both positive and negative feedback and then wow them with unexpected and appropriate rewards for helping you improve your business.
- Use multimedia tools like video, audio, and images to spice up your messages and create a more memorable experience.
Test Boldly & Often
How you thank your customers is too important to ignore. Take an active role in optimizing your thank-you by testing new approaches and measuring their impact. Find what works for your customers and then tweak it and test it some more. Never let the ways you show your appreciation grow stale.
Does your “thank you” add value to customer relationships, or are you leaving opportunities on the table?