All eyes were on the teacher as she slowly made her way down the lunch table. As she passed each of us 4th graders, she placed a small cup of ice cream down in front of us. “Thank you,” I said as I opened my cup and began devouring the creamy chocolate contents with a passion known only to the young. After lunch, as we formed a line to march back to the class room, the teacher was clearly upset. She began by describing why she had passed out ice cream that day and that she had paid for it out of her own money. Then she asked, “Do you know how many times I heard the words ‘thank you’ as I gave each one of you a special treat today?” It turns out I was the only one who remembered my manners that day. That made quite an impression on me that day, in large part because I was so seldom in the teacher’s good graces. And until recently, I thought of expressing gratitude only in terms of politeness, but there are profound business implications as well. Forgetting to say thank you can be extremely costly in business. Let’s look at why this is and how you can put this to work in your favor.
The “Like” Factor
Marketing comes down to the Know, Like, and Trust factor. In other words, we tend to do business with those that we know, like, and trust. You can’t do business with those that you don’t know and if you don’t like them or trust them, you won’t do business with them any longer than you absolutely have to.
Since the habit of expressing appreciation to others is so frequently lacking in our society, those that do it consistently really stand out in a good way. What kind of customer experience do you want to have? Everyone wants to be noticed and appreciated. Remembering and taking time to say thank you with a phone call, a short note, or a gift is something that people notice, appreciate, like, and remember. Doing more of this is something that can and will increase your customer loyalty and your word of mouth referrals from your customers and vendors. Imagine what increasing your customer retention or increasing your referral business can do for your bottom line. Now you can see what the opportunity cost is of forgetting to say those two little words.
Although I would like to say that I’ve never forgotten to express appreciation, that wouldn’t be true. The truth is that sometimes I’ve forgotten. However, since consistency is one of the keys to building and keeping trust, I’m always on the lookout for things that can help in this area. In fact, I have a confession to make. (They say that confession is good for the soul, but that’s another topic.) Some of the people that I am especially grateful to have in my life are my clients. I love them, but I was forgetting to tell them – until recently that is. You see, as I was reviewing the systems in my business, I realized that I didn’t have a “system” in place to remind me to express my gratitude to them. (If you’re a client and you’re reading this, be on the look out for a something special from me in the mail.)
The fact is that some people are great at remembering and others need systems or triggers in place to remind us. Developing the habit of expressing thanks to those who add value to you life can have a powerful impact on those relationships, which can in turn have a powerful impact on your business.
In keeping with the spirit of this blog post, I’d like to thank you for reading this article. I love helping people grow their business, and hope you’re finding valuable ideas here that will help you do just that. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to subscribe to the weekly e-zine using the link on the right so that you can begin receiving high value content each Thursday that will help you grow your business.