Unless you were raised by wolves in the wild, at some point you’ve learned it is polite to say “Thank You”. Not only is it proper etiquette, it’s just downright considerate and gracious. Yet for marketers, saying thank you is about much more than just being polite. If you’re in the business of building lasting, loyal customer relationships (and if you’re not, please question why you’re bothering to be in business at all) it’s an essential practice that pays both monetary and good will dividends. Without it, you’re both at greater risk of customer flight and a sitting duck for the competition.
If you don’t already have a “thank you” process in place, it’s easy to begin one. I suggest matching the format of the initial thank-you message to the channel in which someone first did business with you, then expanding that over time.
For example, did someone purchase from you online? If so, email them a thank you with an offer to re-visit or purchase again, ideally with a coupon or free gift to entice them into action soon. Did they buy in your store or office? Postal mail them a thank-you follow-up. Did they do business with you at a conference, fair or trade show? Email and mail them an invitation to engage with you at either your physical place of business, your online storefront, or both. And keep the follow-ups coming.
It should be obvious that the thank-you, and other conversational greetings like acknowledging birthdays, holidays and anniversaries, becomes a legitimate reason to reach and talk to customers that is distinctly different in feel than the ever-present invitation to buy, buy, buy. It makes you approachable, grateful and personal. Remember, people don’t buy from brands; people buy from people. Adding thank-yous into your marketing illuminates the human side of your brand.
Over time, the greater the variety of media you use to communicate with your customers, the more engaged they will be. Follow-up emails with a postal mailing; integrate email and social media connections with direct mail, catalogs and phone calls.
The Take-Away: Acknowledging the action you asked for is as important, if not more so, as asking for it in the first place. Always thank promptly, but also show gratitude when it’s not expected (like at least at Thanksgiving, or at any other appropriate juncture when it will surprise and delight). When you integrate thank-you messages into your customer communication stream, you won’t be thought of as the friend who only calls when she needs something. You’ll instead be considered, and appreciated, for taking the time to be sincere – and human!
Since I certainly couldn’t claim to provide enlightened anything without practicing what I preach, thank you for reading. Tell me, how do you thank your customers today and what has this article inspired you to do differently in the future?