Dust off those customer service skills—today we’re taking a look at thank-you notes, how they’re good for your business, and how you can make the most of the opportunity to thank your customers.
According to research, yes! Both the sender and the receiver of a thank-you note reap psychological benefits, with each party feeling positive afterward.
Researchers from the University of Texas asked 334 people to write a thank-you letter to someone who'd done something nice for them, before guessing the recipient’s reaction. The researchers followed up with the recipients to find out how they reacted—as it turned out, the letter writers overestimated how awkward their recipients would feel, and underestimated how positive they would feel.
Sending thank-you notes to your customers doesn’t just give them the warm fuzzies. They’re also powerful tools you can use to show your customers how much you appreciate their choice to do business with you. Writing thoughtful and personalized thank-you notes promote brand loyalty, bringing customers back again and again to your business. After all, it’s better for business (and a lot less expensive) to keep a customer coming back than to onboard a new one.
And speaking of new customers, a well-thought-out thank-you note is also a fast track to some seriously impressive (and powerful) word-of-mouth marketing. Sure, happy customers that feel seen and valued are eager to return and give you their business, but they’re also more likely to share the news of your awesome customer service and evangelize about your products.
When both new and returning customers sing your company’s praises, it fosters trust in your brand, increases visibility, and strengthens your reputation. And all of this leads to steady growth for your business.
Still don’t think it’s worth spending the time to send customers a thank-you note? The story of HEX might change your mind. In their infancy, the brand wrote and delivered over 13,000 handwritten thank-you notes. They’re established now, and it’s due in large part to their gargantuan efforts to thank their customers.
If the thought of scratching out over 10,000 thank-you notes makes your hand cramp, don’t stress. You don’t have to personalize and send thank-yous on a grand scale to have a significant impact on your customer relationships. Even one short, simple business thank-you letter goes a long way.
Here's how you can write a thoughtful letter that will make your customers feel valued.
That’s it! That’s all it takes to write thank-you notes that make your customers feel engaged with and appreciated by your brand.
Here’s a short customer thank-you note example to help you get started:
Thanks for donating to our Save the Elephants campaign. I know as a software developer, your money is hard-earned!
There are a lot of great organizations out there that you could support, so thanks for choosing us. Your donation went right to work in the fight against the ivory trade and preserving these magnificent creatures. We truly appreciate you.
-Gabe at Save the Elephants
When excellent customer service can make or break your business, including a pre-printed “Thanks for your patronage” insert with a purchase feels like an empty gesture. To help your note stand out among the barrage of cold and impersonal thank-yous, check out these seven tips for writing the perfect thank-you note.
Don’t let an opportune moment to say thank-you to a customer slip through your fingers. It may not come around again. Send your thank-you note or gift as soon as possible—within 24 hours if you can, as waiting around to send it lessens the impact it will have. Whether you send it with their initial purchase or shortly after, a good rule of thumb to remember is the sooner, the better, and the bigger the impact it will have.
There’s no excuse for sending a generic thank-you note to a customer. It’ll end up in the recycling without the customer giving it another thought. So to make sure your thank-you letter is valued and shared, always use a customer’s name, and look for opportunities to go above and beyond by adding individualized touches to your thank-you messages.
I’m speechless! We just received this hand painted portrait of Ruca out of the blue from @Chewy! What an amazing company. This is such a sweet and unexpected gift! Thank you so so much Chewy! #ThankYouChewy #BestCompanyEver #ShopAtChewy #RucaTheHeeler pic.twitter.com/Vx2vMBhuss— Savannah Bee 🐝 (@Savannah_Bee) January 10, 2019
Chewy, an online retailer that sells pet food and supplies, is well-known for the personal and thoughtful gifts and letters they send to their customers. Past notes have included birthday cards, hand-painted pet portraits, and even donations to animal shelters in the name of deceased pets. Chewy's personalized approach to marketing keeps satisfied customers coming back for more, and eagerly share pictures of the thank-you notes they’ve received on social media, promoting the brand further.
Now I know I just said that sending thank-you notes promoted Chewy’s business, but there’s a good reason for that. When Chewy sends out their thank-yous, they’re not actively promoting their businesses. They’re focusing on cultivating their relationship with the customer.
When you’re saying thanks to a loyal customer by writing a thoughtful note or sending a personalized gift, make sure you don’t accidentally slip in any self-promotional language. There’s a time and a place for promoting your business and upselling, but now is the time to focus on the customer, not yourself or your company. Skip the details about the new product you’ve launched or the 20 percent off coupon and give the customer your undivided attention.
Customers want to know there’s a real person on the other end of the phone or screen. Sending a thank-you note is an excellent way to remind them that you’re human. When you’re writing, make sure your tone is personable and not stilted, corporate, or robotic.
Don’t say boilerplate things like “Thank you for your business” or “Thank you for your continued patronage” (shudders). Write how you talk, and customers will feel connected to your brand. Check out this thank-you note example from online form builder Wufoo:
And in case you can’t read the handwriting, here’s the transcript of Chris’s note:
"Hi Joel, My name is Chris, one of the developers for Wufoo. I just wanted to say thank you for using our services. You've been with us for some time now and we're honored to have earned such trust. People like you help us achieve our dreams and we won't ever forget that. So thank you again on behalf of the entire Wufoo team. Respectfully yours, Chris Campbell"
Chris’s note is sincere, and it made an impact on the recipient, who shared the handmade card in a blog post, helping to put the company’s name out there and associated it with friendliness and warmth.
If your company’s brand is more traditional, steer clear of writing a thank-you note that has a quirky and relaxed tone. On the flip side, if your brand voice is quirky and relaxed, make sure your thank-you note reflects that. Otherwise, the whole endeavor will feel insincere and inauthentic, and will likely do little more than confuse the recipient.
Fashion accessory brand HEX did a great job of this during their thank-you note campaign:
Note how they use “rad” and “stoked”—words like these obviously won't be appropriate for every brand and every situation. Still, it was perfect for theirs, and customers appreciated it.
A thank-you note doesn’t always have to be handwritten to be impactful, but it’s always a nice touch. Still, if you’re unable to send out a handwritten letter for whatever reason, make sure your customer thank-you emails rise about the noise and resonate with your customers.
Aside from incorporating the already-mentioned tips, you should always use the real estate in your thank-you email’s subject line to say something that indicates how grateful you are to have this person as a customer. Make sure your subject line grabs their attention without sounding like clickbait to avoid customers flagging your notes as spam, and to keep your customers interested enough to open the email and read the contents. And don't forget to practice proper email etiquette if you do decide to draft your thank-you notes in email form.
Including a thoughtful and relevant gift with your thank-you note can go a long way towards establishing a loyal customer base. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
Don’t just send something random, though—make sure your gifts make sense for that customer. Add-on items that complement their current or past purchase make a great (and relevant) gift.
Consider taking a page from Casper’s book:
The direct-to-consumer mattress retailer also sells sleep accessories like pillows and sheets and has been known to ship these items free when a customer purchases a mattress. Plus, they include hand-written notes with their gifts, doubling down on the gratitude and growing the brand’s credibility.
If your customer base is smaller, thanking each one of them may not seem daunting. But if you’re a company with a lot of customers and you decide to follow HEX’s example and thank your customers at scale, you might be looking for a little help. Here are some tools that can help you get started.
Chances are, you’re already using a CRM solution somewhere in your business.CRM software helps you better understand the experiences of your customers and their relationship with your brand. In turn, this will help you craft targeted and appropriate thank-you messages for them.
There are plenty of robust CRM platforms. These include heavy hitters like Salesforce, but an effective CRM tool is what works for your business—it could be as simple as a shared Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. And even the right customer support software can help you manage professional relationships with your customers through tools like email management for customer service or a help desk.
Letter Friend outsources your thank-you note writing when the task becomes too much for one team to handle. If you’re struggling to send thanks every time you’d like to, their service might be for you.
But, if the idea of outsourcing the writing of your thank-you notes to other humans is too much for you to stomach, you could always have a robot do it. Enter Handwrytten, a service that uses robots to write thank-you notes in “human” handwriting with real ink.
Bonjoro integrates with your CRM software and allows you to record and send custom videos to your customers, whether they’re just joining your customer family or they’re long-time members.
ConvertKit has had significant success using Bonjoro to grow a following of appreciative and supportive customers. They recorded a short, custom video for each new member, using their name and giving them a quick tip. Sending a personalized video each time someone new joined ConvertKit helped to reduce their churn and spark a lasting connection between the brand and their customers.
There’s no doubt about it—thank-you notes are a valuable tool for fostering good customer relationships and driving customer loyalty (even if you can’t handwrite 13,000 of them). The right format, language, and tools make saying thanks a simple and powerful way to give customers a great experience.
Providing excellent customer service is just another way to say thanks. Sign up today for your free trial of Keeping, and in just a few simple steps, you can streamline your customer service and be there right when customers need you.
Elizabeth M. Jones is a friendly freelance content writer for SaaS and fintech clients. She lives in Maryland and spends her time reading, writing, and losing at Overwatch. You can find Elizabeth at https://elizabethmjoneswrites.com.