Write a Memorable Customer Thank You Note with This Comprehensive Guide

What is the most important thing your company has to say? Is it your mission statement? Is it the copy on your homepage? Of course, those are important — as a marketing professional in the HVAC industry, you know the importance of every word. But how about the different ways your company says “Thank you!” to your customers?

It’s easy to undervalue the importance of those two little words and miss out on a tremendous opportunity to strengthen relationships with the customers you’ve already attracted. Writing a bad thank you note is pretty easy, but a good thank you note requires being personal and consistent, and those things are a little harder. Let’s look at some strategies for crafting a memorable thank you note.

Stop Selling at This Point

How genuine does it feel to be thanked by someone, only to be followed by a sales pitch? Yet that’s exactly how most corporate thank-you messages read. There is a place for advertising and sales. But a thank you note has one goal: To build customer relationships and personify your brand. It is not to be used for advertising, self-promotion, or a way to get coupons in their hands. These will undermine the primary goal of heartfelt gratitude.

Avoid propping yourself or your company up; this is not about you or how great you are. Your actions, employees, and services have spoken for themselves. Now it’s about how great the customer is and how valuable they are. They don’t owe you anything: Their business, referrals, or reviews. But they gave you their trust, and that alone is worth appreciating and fostering.

The rarity of genuine gratitude–nothing more–surprises people, leaving a memorable impression. This builds the foundation for organic business growth driven by strong customer relationships.

Make It Feel Personal, not Professional

You’ve seen the rise in referral marketing, know (for better or worse) the value of customer reviews online, and have seen how important individual engagement through social media is for your business. There is a huge shift away from depersonalized, disembodied “professional” communication.

People want to hear from a person — not another company. You may not know the recipient of your thank you note, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a note feel personal. You do know yourself, how you feel, what you think, and what’s meaningful from your side of this message. The more you share of those things, the more personal the note will be, even if it’s being delivered to someone you’ve never met.

You’re trying to establish or maintain a real human connection here, so let that be reflected in your language and especially in your tone. Let your words tend toward the individual and the personal, and away from something corporate. What seems more “official” might feel more professional, but it often keeps people at arm’s length, and that’s not helpful in this context.

Here are some other things to consider when writing a more personal thank you note:

  • Open naturally by using their first name, “John,” instead of “Dear Customer.”
  • Sign the thank-you with your name by hand
  • Include signatures of employees who dealt with them directly.
  • Use “I” instead of “We.”
  • Weed out clichés and empty language
  • Use natural language, not a thesaurus.
  • Use exclamation points sparingly.

These tips should strengthen your writing, but to really make a thank you note personal, you have to get under the surface. Don’t hide behind empty words that aren’t flowing out of genuine sentiment. If companies take the time to send out thank you notes at all, they rarely get beyond trite, worn-out language. In the end, the note doesn’t say anything to the customer at all — it’s just a formal gesture, a nod.

To make a truly memorable thank you note that means something to your reader, you have to show why they mean something to you. Not the company — you. Be specific about what you’re grateful for and why.

Here’s a typical (and forgettable) corporate thank you note:

Dear Customer,

We just want to take a minute to say thank for your business. Everyone at Acme HVAC appreciates loyal customers like you! If you have a few minutes, please fill out this survey and let us know how we’re doing. Have a great day and remember us the next time you need repairs or service for your HVAC needs!

Sincerely,

The Acme HVAC Team

Quick test, reader: can you remember anything from the second sentence in the body of that note? Let’s look at a more memorable example.

Robert,

I’m grateful for every satisfied client like you because it reminds me that the “outstanding Acme HVAC customer service” I’m always writing about makes a real difference to real people. It looks like Phillip, your technician, was able to get everything with your air handler fixed pretty quickly. Would you take 3 minutes to tell me more about his service call? It will help us keep improving, and serve you better the next time you need us.

Thank you, Robert!

Best Wishes,

Stephen Smith

Director of Marketing, Acme HVAC

Schedule 10 minutes to write. Now.

You probably don’t need a coach for how to make company writing more real and personal. At a gut level, we get this stuff. What you probably need is a more compelling argument that these kinds of communication are worth your attention, when you have so many other things competing for your time.

Take a small challenge this month. Write a few handwritten thank you notes to select clients. Or at least hand address and sign a few. Can you give this assignment 10 minutes per week? Will you schedule it right now? Will you also schedule 10 minutes a month from now to write to us and share what you learned, or what happened? We’d really like to know.

Did someone write a particularly glowing review of your services online? Take 10 minutes and write them a note to thank them for their business and time to review your services. They will tell even more people about your company.

Was there a problem with a part or repair call that led to an unhappy customer? Take 10 minutes to write them a note apologizing for the inconvenience and thanking them for their patience. You may well save yourself a negative review online, or garner a positive update to one they’ve already posted, which demonstrates your company’s commitment to actual people and dedicated customer service.

You might see a significant gain from taking this challenge. But even if there’s no new sale or identifiable sales leads that come from this work, it has long-term advantages that make it worth your time:

  • Writing a thank-you keeps you in touch with the real people involved in your business.
  • It will help you reconnect with the guys that are talking to your clients every day. When was the last time you had a chat with them and heard what’s really going on during sales or service calls?
  • Maybe you have some negative reviews online, and this gives you a new way to respond to them.
  • This exercise will force you to think through how you’re talking about your company with customers in generic communications — you’ll feel the contrast when you work to make broad claims personal. Hopefully, it will unlock new ways to frame your other communications.

Build Consistency

You can do all of these things, and even do them very well, and still not really hit the sweet spot for your recipient. Besides being personal, you need to commit to consistency in your correspondence.

Consistency in expressing thanks means that each time there’s an appropriate moment to let your customer know you appreciate them, you do it. At the end of a phone call or meeting, you thank people for their time. When they’ve made a purchase or called with questions about a product, you let them know you’re grateful. Where else do you need to be thanking your customers?

Is saying thanks a consistent, scheduled, important part of your customer relationships? It better be. It’s not enough, though, to just write some generic copy and check the box and move on.

Another Way to Say Thanks

Our company, To Your Success, has been thinking about better ways to express gratitude to customers and how to strengthen customer relationships from the day we started. What we have seen is that a tangible, memorable “Thank You” is the way to delight customers and be remembered for a lifetime, which makes a huge difference in your business goals.

Invest in customer relationships in ways your competition doesn’t. You’re much, much more likely to get invaluable customer feedback and engagement, which will help shape your approach to customer service and how you find new business. We have many ideas to share with you if you’re interested in saying thanks in a more memorable and strategic way. It’s easy to start that conversation — just fill out our contact form today.

And hey — thank you for taking time out of your day to think through some new ways to make your thank you notes more personal and consistent.

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