There was a great post recently on Forbes.com, “How 13,000 Handwritten Thank You Notes Built A Thriving Business,” about how good old-fashioned thank you notes could be used as a growth and retention tool.
To show the value of thank you notes, the author points to the example of HEX. HEX is a small company that competes with big brands from Tumi to Michael Kors, and has in part competed by incorporating personalized, handwritten thank you notes to purchasers–over 13,000 thanks notes to date. The notes do make it easy to respond or share word of HEX over social channels, both by the inclusion of social coordinates and because in addition to the handwritten note, the customers receive an automated online confirmation that can be replied to. Given that HEX is successfully competed with well financed companies, thank you notes turn into a strong tool for small companies.
The core of the HEX story is that beginnings and particular endings have disproportionate impact on users. I wrote previously how you should look at the end of their play experience to optimize retention but this post also shows how you can better optimize your customer service experience. People will remember the beginning and the end of an interaction, so it is critical to make that final touch something that leaves a very positive impression.
Given that the last touch in the customer service interaction is so critical, a handwritten thank you note is a great way to make this touch a strong positive. The fact that most interactions now are by email (or text), an old-fashioned hand written note has a huge impact on users. This power is amplified because, unlike an email, the recipient is much more likely to believe the note was written for them by the person who signed it. This tool can be used when someone reaches out to customer service, makes a purchase (or a large purchase depending on the number of users or players you are servicing, posts something positive about your product or in some other way interacts with you.
In the Forbes’ post, the author lists several ways to maximize the impact of the note:
- Reference the actual reason or incident you are thankful for (e.g., your recent $1,000 purchase). This technique makes it feel more authentic for the recipient and not like a form thank you. Even better if you can reference the item purchased or the resolution of the CS incident.
- Surprise the recipient; do not get into a regular pattern.
- Do not make it a sales pitch; keep it from being commercial and just say thank you.
- Handwritten thank you notes, if authentic and well done, can be a great tool for improving retention and growth.
- The value of thank you notes is underscored by the fact that customers remember most their last interaction with your company, and thank you notes can make that memory very positive.
- The best thank you notes reference specifics of what you are thinking the user for, surprise the user by not falling into a predictable pattern and are not a sales pitch.