A Big Thank-You

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In an impersonal world, a personal note of gratitude can turn your customers into fans

Esther the wonder pig's thank you print

I occasionally order items from a small business in Canada — mostly fun little treats, like calendars, T-shirts and books, for myself and others. I’m always delighted when the packages hit my porch, not just because of the coffee mug that might be inside, but because this company knows how to thank its customers. 

Tucked into every bag are extra goodies like postcards and stickers, plus a handwritten thank-you note. That note is my favorite part of every package, “signed” as it is by the namesake of the enterprise, Esther the Wonder Pig. She’s a remarkable pig who became a social media star and the subject of several books for adults and children. Seeing her cloven hoof print always makes me smile.

As retailing gets more competitive, more challenging — and because of online shopping — more impersonal, heartfelt gratitude for your customers becomes more important than ever. 

It costs little, in terms of time or money, to thank your customers after the sale. A follow-up email is one option. But a note accompanying the bed set upon delivery or sent by mail to the customer may have the biggest impact.

To keep the process manageable and repeatable, you’ll want to decide who receives thank-you notes. Ideally, every customer would be thanked following a purchase, but your volume may not allow that. In that case, consider sending notes to repeat customers or high-value customers, suggests Michael Keenan in a June article for Shopify, the Ottawa, Canada-based retail platform.

Here are more tips to make thank-you notes most effective:

O Personalize the message. Use customers’ names in the salutation and reference their specific purchase in the body of the message. Notes should be signed by a specific person: retail sales associate, store manager, sales manager, bedding buyer or company owner.

O Encourage follow-up. Include an email address or phone number for customers to call if they have any questions or concerns about their new purchase, or tuck a business card in with the note.

O Add a perk. Include a coupon or coupon code for a future purchase, but don’t push customers for a social media testimonial or referral to friends and family, Keenan says. If you want to make such a request, do it separately and at a later time.

Esther the Wonder Pig shares another message with her fans. “Kindness Is Magic,” she says. Thank-you notes are a kindness that can work magic with your customers.