How (and why) to thank a customer for their business and build relationships

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    How (and why) to thank a customer for their business and build relationships

    Think back to the last time you received a personalised ‘thank-you’ message.

    Either you can’t recall a time because it was simply so long ago, or you remember it fondly because it made such an impact. The art of thank-you notes has all but died out – another victim of the digital age – but this has actually turned them into an incredibly rare and valuable tool for modern businesses.

    Our team are acutely aware of the importance of building healthy relationships and striking the right tone to get the very best out of people. We understand how small gestures, the right language choice, and personal attention can make a very real difference to our clients in this competitive business world.

    So, if you’re looking to build client relationships, here’s a look at how and why you should start crafting these all-important messages – you’ll thank us later!

    Tips for writing a thank-you message to clients

    Reading over this article might be unearthing some unwelcome school memories of sitting in English class back in the day. However, we could all do with a refresher course in this ancient craft. Now that class is in session, let’s dive in:

    Start with the thanks:

    Remember that you’re corresponding with a client so they might be alarmed at receiving a message from you – it could very well be an overdue bill. Put them at ease by starting with a ‘thank-you’ and then dive into all the reasons they’re so wonderful.

    Be genuine:

    Don’t throw in a sneaky mention of your upcoming sales or a backhanded compliment to yourself. This is a thank-you message, nothing more. The relationship-building won’t happen if it’s not from the heart. And let them know how much their business means to you and your employees.

    Personalise it:

    Starting with ‘Dear [insert name]’ will immediately render this entire activity pointless. Personalise, not only the name but also the message itself. Any anecdote or unique experience that you can recall will go a long way in making this a worthwhile undertaking.

    Hit the right tone:

    This is a personal message but it’s to a professional acquaintance and it needs to come across as such. You can keep the tone welcoming but not overly friendly.

    Proofread:

    We’re not all writers or English professors, so mistakes can be made. Nobody expects your thank-you note to be a literary masterpiece, but you must ensure there are no grammar errors. Get someone to proofread them quickly before you send them out.

    Consider groupings:

    If there are simply too many to consider for personalised thank-you notes, then you might have to pick specific client groups. These could be:

    • Customers from the last six months
    • Customers who’ve referred new business
    • Customers who’ve booked recurring work
    • Customers who’ve referred new business your way
    • First-time and loyal customers
    • High-value customers.

    Smart business owners agree with this sentiment from Margaret Shepherd in The Art of the Handwritten Note; “Your thank-you note should recapture the smile, handshake or hug you would give the giver in person and offer it in a form that can be read and reread. A proper thank-you note has five distinct characteristics: generous, specific, prompt (but never let lateness stop you from writing at all), succinct and personal.” (Source)

    Some thank-you template ideas

    Your thank-you note doesn’t have to be an essay. While personalising it may take some thought, this message doesn’t need to go on too long. Here is an idea of some of the wording you could use on either side of the personalised message:

    Introductions

    • Thank you for your support…
    • Thank you for choosing…
    • Thank you for being a valued customer…
    • On behalf of [business name]…
    • Thanks for placing your trust in us…
    • The team at [business name] wants to thank you…

    Signing off

    • We truly appreciate your business and look forward to helping you again soon.
    • We look forward to continuing [the business you do] in the New Year/future.
    • We hope our service made your life just a little easier.
    • Please let us know if there’s any other work we can help you with.
    • We know there are many other [business types] you could’ve chosen, yet you chose and continue to choose us.
    • As a family-owned / locally-grown business, we truly appreciate the ongoing support.
    • We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and look forward to helping you again.

    A little extra advice

    While acknowledging the impact of Covid-19 might be top of mind, remember that we’ve all experienced two years of the same messaging and it’s starting to lose its effect. Where possible, avoid the overused phrases such as:

    • ‘Challenging times’
    • ‘I hope this finds you well’
    • ‘Unprecedented times’

    Benefits of thanking a client for their business

    You know how to write a thank-you note, but you might not realise the incredible value it brings to your business. This brings us to the why.

    Here are a few ways that a simple ‘thank you’ can make all the difference.

    Word-of-mouth marketing

    With a thank you note, you’re cementing yourself as a company that is committed to quality service and customer care. This is something that your customers will remember and they’re much more likely to recommend your business to others because of this gesture. Marketing is an incredibly expensive undertaking for a business. Word-of-mouth marketing, however, is not only free, but it’s also a lot more effective. People are far more likely to choose a supplier or product that has been recommended by someone they trust, rather than something that is advertised. (Just consider the popularity of review sites.)

    It builds customer loyalty

    These days, consumers have a wealth of options to choose from and many ways to find them. Your competitors are everywhere, ready to snatch away your business if you’re not willing to build that customer relationship. By writing a thank you message, you’re expressing your gratitude for their trust, and instilling a sense of confidence in the relationship going forward. This act of thoughtfulness shows that you actually care for your clients, and this can’t be bought.

    Thanking clients builds retention

    Customer loyalty invariably leads to customer retention – which is key in an ever-changing market. By sending out thank you notes, you’re more likely to encourage repeat business. In his bestselling book, Influence, Robert Cialdini explains that the principle of reciprocity is a powerful motivator.

    None of us like feeling indebted to others – well most of us anyway. We don’t want to owe people money or a favour; we want to be on an equal footing. That’s why if someone gives us something, we’re wired to give something back. By sending a heartfelt thank you note, the client feels impelled to reciprocate, ideally in the form of repeat business or by promoting you to others.

    A few more tips for building client relationships

    Apart from the genuine, well-written and timely thank-you note, there are many other ways to build a healthy working relationship with your clients. These include:

    Doing your research:

    When you first make contact, take some time to research their past work to show your interest in them. Checking out their social media profiles is usually the best place to get a baseline feel for the organisation or individual. 

    Get feedback:

    We don’t appear to be too needy but it’s always worth getting some constructive feedback after a project has finished. A quick call or short survey can show how you can improve on the next project or with the next client. This shows an interest in continued growth and improvement - a positive and admirable trait.

    Remember to take their feedback seriously and implement changes where necessary. 

    Solid communication:

    If you’re not on the same page, the relationship will never work. Establish an open and honest relationship early on, and while email or text can be the dominant form of communication, make sure to check in with a phone call or face-to-face meeting (where possible!).

    It’s also important to understand how to communicate on the various platforms – often messaging or emails can come across as abrupt or unprofessional. Make sure to get the tone right and don’t leave room for confusion.

    When you work with experts at Chaser, you’re able to establish and maintain successful professional relationships – even when you’re having to ask for money! It’s all about understanding the right balance… and that expert touch.

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