Have We Forgotten How to Say Thank You?

Google “How to Say Thank You” and you’ll get 2.18 billion results. Most are instructional. It’s surprising that something we learned to do as children has that many search results.

Somewhere in between childhood and adulthood, we forgot how to say thank you and, most importantly, mean it.

This is especially true in business where the market often forces companies to focus on short-term transactions rather than long-term relationships. When customers hear a “thank you” in business, it’s usually the result of a company policy instead of something genuine.

Saying something and meaning it comes across a lot differently than when you just go through the motions of saying it.If you don’t mean it: it’s just words. When you mean it, the words carry emotion. It’s the difference between someone faking a smile and a child opening up that gift they’ve wanted for months on Christmas morning.

Over a decade ago, a sales associate at Cole Haan sent me a handwritten thank you note. Thousands of transactions between then and now, and I’ve yet to receive another personal letter from any company that wasn’t mailed with a purchase. To this day, when I’m looking for something new, I check to see if Cole Haan has something I like first. And, guess what: my last clothing purchase was from Cole Haan.

All it took to make me consider Cole Haan first was a handwritten letter that took no longer than a couple of minutes to write. But, it was genuine. And, the sales associate had to look online to figure out how to thank me.

At its heart, saying “thank you” is about caring for customers. Customers want to matter and they want to engage with brands.

Yet, most companies are missing the chance to engage with their customers beyond trite responses to happy customers and copy-and-paste legalese for angry customers.

This is a big missed opportunity. But, it’s not an opportunity that can be feigned. It can only be done with caring. And, a good start is creating a culture that cares enough to genuinely say, “Thank you.”

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