The Power of Thank You in Business
                              By Chelse Benham

"Who does not thank for little will not...
Joanna L. Krotz, founder and editor of MoneyMinded.com and CEO of
Muse2Muse Productions, a content strategy and editorial ...
say a daily "thank you" for a job well done, according to a recent nationwide
Maritz poll, a national consumer opinion sur...
•   after a positive and productive telephone discussion or a meeting
   •   after a presentation that you liked
   •   fo...
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The Power Of Thank You In Business

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Article on business issues, protocol, and best practices for The Monitor

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The Power Of Thank You In Business

  1. 1. The Power of Thank You in Business By Chelse Benham "Who does not thank for little will not thank for much." - Estonian proverb Remembering to say and write “thank you” letters is a courtesy that leverages an underutilized edge in the marketplace. This edge can do such things as expand your client base, create customer and employee loyalty, open up a job opportunity and even help you acquire a promotion. To underestimate the value of “thank you” is to shortchange your future in the professional world. The courtesy of thanking others is a productive means to forging relationships and establishing a positive professional image. “Sometimes the little details make all the difference in whether you get a job or build on a business relationship. The more personalized a thank you letter is the more effective it is. Hand written notes are better than typed ones,” said Lourdes Servantes, placement specialist at The University of Texas-Pan American’s Career Placement Services Office. “It’s also very important to send your thank you in a timely manner. A card, rather than an e-mail, is also better, but a written thank you either way is always a good habit to get into.” Sue Fox, author of Etiquette for Dummies, gives definitive advice on the timeliness of thank-you notes. According to Fox, the thank-you should be done promptly – within 48 hours of receiving a gift or attending an event. Two or three lines is a perfectly acceptable length. Short thank-you notes are better than long ones. “Sending thank-you notes is so important – in business as well as in your personal life,” Fox writes in her book. “Sending a thank-you note only makes you look good, but it also shows that you respect the person who did something kind for you. Simply saying thank you is not enough! You must put your gratitude in writing.” Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) International, a public opinion polling and marketing research company, studies the issues facing America's largest companies. ORC’s Web site, www.orc.co.uk provides many different surveys about consumer attitudes. One survey, commissioned by ORC, prepared by Lenox Incorporated, a gift merchandise company, confirmed that there is an increase in the perception of rude behavior among Americans. The survey found more than one-third of 1,000 people polled rate the manners of Americans as poor. That's nearly a 50 percent jump from 2002 and a 65 percent drop from results of the same poll in 2001. The Lenox etiquette poll found that nearly five out of every 10 people don't always say thanks. Ultimately, remembering to say thank you goes a long way toward forging relationships that can turn into opportunities.
  2. 2. Joanna L. Krotz, founder and editor of MoneyMinded.com and CEO of Muse2Muse Productions, a content strategy and editorial services firm, writes that extending old-time courtesies helps you stand out and it provides a competitive advantage. She lists affordable ways to show business gratitude, as well as tips about timing and tactics. • Throw a party or reception for your customers to thank customer loyalty. • Be warm and personal. Write or send an e-mail strictly in gratitude and not as prelude to asking for something else. Customers and suppliers notice such gestures. Depending on your business, the note can vary from no-frills to fancy. • Timing counts. For most businesses effective appreciation is less about cost or creativity and more about courtesy. Getting a note or an e-mail out right away — within couple of days — is more important. • Pass along compliments. When you want to express gratitude for something that has had a successful ripple effect, get the third party to send thanks. It creates a strong incentive for your recipient to stay connected. In Orlando, Fla., a nonprofit group called A Gift for Teaching provides free school supplies to central Florida teachers. Over the past five years, it has given $9 million worth of supplies to 278 schools. "The only thing the organization asks of teachers is to write, or have their students write, thank-you notes. It's been a great success," says the group's former publicist, Kylene Petrin. This idea isn't limited to nonprofits. Think about testimonials that could go out to customers from employees, vendors and more. • Send value-added appreciation. Whenever you come across a white paper, industry report or competitive intelligence that you think a customer or supplier might find enlightening, clip it and send it along at the right moment. Of course, make sure these are timely. But even if the client has already seen it, he or she will appreciate that you're thinking about and supporting his or her interests. • Give a quirky distinctive thank you. Another way to make customers remember you is with unique or unusual gift. • Giving thanks to employees is also important. Saying thanks to employees has several benefits. You build staff loyalty and increase productivity, which leads to greater customer satisfaction. Few managers or business owners bother to give enough praise to their employees. A scant 10 percent of employees report they have supervisors who
  3. 3. say a daily "thank you" for a job well done, according to a recent nationwide Maritz poll, a national consumer opinion survey conducted in 2003. The poll, which surveyed 1,002 adults nationwide, asked the 85 percent of employees who left their jobs voluntarily to measure the impact of several factors surrounding their decision. Aside from compensation and benefits, the poll found that lack of recognition or praise (25 percent) played a great part in people leaving their jobs. More than half of employees (55 percent) said they were never, seldom or only occasionally appreciated and praised. Furthermore, the poll revealed that 37 percent of all employees rated intangible rewards like praise or recognition as extremely important. Krotz continues her advice for thanking others with the following: • Thank your complaining customers. Research indicates that the majority of dissatisfied customers don't bother to complain, points out B. J. Gallagher, a human resource training consultant based in Los Angeles. They simply vote with their wallets by going elsewhere for their business needs. That means complaints are a valuable gift in providing a heads-up about where to focus on improvements. "A customer who complains still wants to do business with you, if you can make things right," says Gallagher. "So thank him or her for giving you that chance and assure him that you want to do everything you can to make him happy." • Don't go over the top. If someone refers significant business to you or is responsible for a healthy percentage of your revenues, it's certainly appropriate to offer thanks by way of an expensive treat, say, dinner at an upscale restaurant or sports event tickets. Just be honest about offering no-strings-attached thanks, and don't try to pitch business, which will turn the client off. Dr. Rick Crandall, professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and author of Marketing Your Services for People Who Hate to Sell, writes that people complain more than they praise. According to Crandall praising, or saying “thank you,” can help your business and create a favorable impression. It can build and reinforce relationships — both business and personal. It can promote growth, encourage teamwork and express your commitment and caring. It's a subtle expression of the desire for an ongoing relationship. June Van Klaveren, Compelling Communications Inc., author of The Edge Up, offers informative information about thank you notes in her Web article, “The Power of Thank You” at apply-mag.com Here are some times to send thank you notes:
  4. 4. • after a positive and productive telephone discussion or a meeting • after a presentation that you liked • for a referral of business • to a new employee • for a job well done or for going the extra mile • for an unexpected kindness • to anyone who gives good service • for friendship Klaveren also offer some tips to make thank you note writing easier. She suggests the following: • Become aware of what you're really thankful for — your customers, your family, your friends — and watch for situations that warrant a thank you note. • Create a “Thank You Note Writing Kit” containing thank you postcards, stamps and a pen. Keep it out in the open where it will remind you to write notes. • Make sure the note is sincere and meaningful. It doesn't have to be lengthy. Keep it short and appreciative. • Focus on using “you” more than “me” or “I.” It shows that the focus of the card is on the receiver's generosity. • In the note, comment on how it made you feel to receive the gift or kindness. Express hope for the future as in “I look forward to having fun working with you.” • If you absolutely can't think of what to say or how to say it, go to www.writeexpress.com/thank-you.htm to get help writing a thank you. • Make a habit of writing thank you notes. You'll stand out from your competition and create a favorable impression. There is probably no faster way or least expensive means to create goodwill than in the act of thanking another. It has the power to build the priceless condition of loyalty in someone or the ability to bring about new opportunities. Extending sincere gratitude and appreciation for the work someone has done bolsters the spirit of both the receiver and recipient in the exchange. Don’t miss the opportunities to build in-roads through the act of thanking another. This courtesy is useful in all areas of life and among all people. Gratitude knows no boundaries. “Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.” - G.B. Stern, British author

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