In an increasingly digital world, business communication has never been easier. Dashing off a quick email, replying to a coworker’s text with an emoji or liking an association’s Facebook status are accomplished with just a few taps on your phone, making them convenient ways to connect with others without too much interruption to our busy lives. However, some work-related situations call for a more personal touch: a handwritten thank-you note. Whether you are thanking a new client for their business, a long-time customer for their commitment, a partner for their assistance on a project or an employee for a job well done, handwriting a simple note of appreciation can go a long way.
A genuine, handwritten thank-you note:
Increases word-of-mouth marketing: People who receive a handwritten note are not only more likely to remain your customer, client or partner, they’re also more inclined to tell other people about the experience. For those with an eye on the bottom line, word-of-mouth drives 13 percent of sales, so this low-cost gesture can play a significant role in your marketing efforts.
Helps you stand out: Many companies consider thank-you notes to be too time consuming, or even unnecessary if thank-yous were already exchanged in person. However, those that do take the time to write a genuine note of gratitude are more likely to stand out among the competition. If you’ve ever received a handwritten thank-you note from a business, they probably stick out more in your mind than the countless emails or printed form letters you’ve received from other companies.
Reflects well on you: Writing a prompt thank-you note shows the recipient that you value your relationship with them and also demonstrates your communication skills and ability to follow through on tasks. If you aren’t the most eloquent of writers, there’s no need for concern – recipients care far more about the warmth and sincerity in a thank-you note than they do about phrasing.
Brightens someone’s day: Research has shown that your appreciation means much more to people than you might think. In one study, participants were instructed to write a thank-you letter to someone and were then asked to guess how happy that person would be to receive it. Most senders assumed their letters would evoke a “3” out of 5 at best, but when recipients filled out a questionnaire after receiving the thank-you notes, most of them indicated it made them feel “ecstatic” and ranked their joy at a “4” out of 5.
To reap the benefits of a thank-you note, you don’t need to write a pages-long letter. Stick with these four elements: 1) a personalized greeting, using the recipient’s name, 2) a sincere thank-you, getting right to the point, 3) a personal touch, showing that you were paying attention in your conversations/interactions, and 4) a closing.
Just a tiny investment of time can deliver tremendous results in both your professional and personal life, so grab a pen and start writing!