We are five days into the new year with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season behind us, but as we begin 2011, I keep thinking about a tradition that shouldn’t wait until November or December to complete, but a practice that should be continued and maintained throughout the year. The thank-you card.
Most businesses send out customer appreciation cards during the holidays. One company I worked at would spend over two months planning and preparing for this yearly process….literally. It IS an important concept, to thank your customers, but is it something that should be limited to once a year? Absolutely NOT! In fact, I would venture to say that with everyone sending out cards at the same time, most cards received won’t stand out in any way and will most likely be forgotton.
In addition, how many cards did you receive that included a hand-written personal message? If you did get one, you will certainly remember it. It is too easy these days to take the easy, impersonal approach. Sometimes I think it is a task that is checked off the “to do” list with minimal thought or effort.
I just put in new windows. …In December….. I know, what was I thinking? But to get to the point, I did receive a “Thank-you for my business” card. No note, no signature BUT it did have a referral slip for me to complete. The ironic thing is that it mentioned that “I” appreciate your friendship and goodwill and “I” will make every effort to provide excellent service…..If “I” can assist you…..feel free to contact “me”… yet there was no person associated with the note. Just the company name and a generic business card with the company information. I threw it away. Yes I did remember that card, but certainly not in a positive way.
If written in the right way, a thank-you card can be a powerful way to engage with your customers and contacts and build relationships, which is a critical component of any true marketing strategy. This is probably one of the most affordable approaches with guaranteed results if done correctly.
Next post I will talk about the elements of a thank-you card and how to write one that is memorable and encourages interaction with your contacts.