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Ways to Say Thank You & Build Customer Relationships

Good customer relationship management is built on appreciation. Show your gratitude with these twists on classic ideas.

As the old proverb states, “Give thanks a little and you will receive a lot.”

1. Send a handwritten note


Some call letter-writing a lost art and this can be good news for you. Handwritten notes stand out in the hectic pace of a digital world. To make your note hit home, personalize each note and tell recipients how their actions impacted you and your team.

Having trouble getting started? Use this template.

2. Create a video


Another way to stand out is to create a unique video showing off your organization’s personality. One of my favorite Thank You videos is this lovely piece from a non-profit group.


To make it easy, Facebook recently launched a ” Say Thanks” campaign, where you can build personalized videos.


3. Share a social message


If you regularly publish to social channels, you can connect with others in your network and say thank you in an unexpected way. The best part of this method is that it’s a public way to let everyone know how grateful you are, without leaving your desk. You can either post a note to your own page OR post a message directly to a specific follower’s feed.

Too busy to create your own? Here are a few digital thank you cards that you can share.

4. Share a social message, privately


If you’re concerned about making a public statement, but still want to connect on a social network, you can use Direct or Private Message options.

Did you know that if you reply to someone on Twitter and start with their handle @MyTwitterHandle, the message is only seen by people who follow you and the recipient? The recipient then has the option to make the message public by retweeting.

Feel free to borrow these free digital thank you cards for social networks.

5. Write an email


If you want to say thank you to someone who prefers digital messages to paper, send a well-crafted and personalized email. To make your email more engaging, include an interesting image, graphic or even a photo of yourself holding a sign saying, “Thanks.” If you don’t have time or resources for a professional photographer, you can use stock photography, which sells for as little as a dollar.

Remember that many emails are opened on smartphones and tablets, so check that it will be well received on a mobile device as well as a desktop.

For a great resource on how to write amazing emails, check out this article.

6. Create an eCard


Think of eCards as hybrid versions of emails, handwritten cards and online videos. Animated cards and cards that allow you to personalize with your own logo and photos will generate more interest with your audience and perhaps even get a chuckle or two.

7. Refer business


One of the strongest ways you can show your appreciation is to refer business to someone. Some argue that referrals are the best way to say thank you. This can even work well with your customers, as long as you don’t inappropriately favor one customer over another.

8. Visit in person


Similar to handwritten notes, there is power to the personal visit. It takes time to visit others and that effort demonstrates how much you appreciate them. We recommend going out for coffee, lunch or dinner. The casual environment helps you get out of your daily grind and allows you to focus on building relationships.

9. Thanks a latte


Can’t meet someone for coffee because you’re located in different parts of the country, or even on different continents? Send a gift card for coffee. Mention that while you can’t get together in person, you still want to say, “Thanks a latte.”

10. Send a photo card


Photo cards are another great opportunity to showcase your personality and style. If you are saying thank you for a specific service or item, you can even take a picture with the item. The more personal and more specific you can be, the more your message will make an impact.

11. Pick up the phone


Just like personal visits and handwritten notes, fewer people are taking the time to make phone calls over the last few years. The key is to limit the phone call to a thank you message…don’t use this as an opportunity to upsell or ask for a favor. If you are forwarded to voice mail, don’t require a call back – just say thank you!

12. Send a text


While texting isn’t for everyone, many people appreciate a quick message on their phone. Be personal and be specific, but keep it simple. We recommend using no more than 150 characters. Here’s a great example:

Bo, I just want to say thank you. I enjoy working with your team. Your help defining requirements is the reason the project has been a success.

13. Host an appreciation event


Entertain your clients for a daytime coffee session, evening dinner or happy hour. Keep business and sales presentations to a minimum and focus on being grateful for your customers’ participation in your success. Other great options include “open houses” at your office, user group meetings and even webinars for clients in remote locations. Make sure to allow time for customers to ask questions and initiate conversations – customers should drive the content of these events.

14. Add thank you notes in unexpected places


If you’re hosting an event, you can also show your gratefulness by adding thank you notes in unexpected places. For example, add a note to each name tag saying thank you. Other options include chalkboards, menus, place settings, coasters, hallways, mirrors and even restroom entrances – every nook & cranny is a chance to say thank you. Just be sure to follow your organization’s brand guidelines and keep it appropriate to your environment.

15. Post a banner and/or sign


Even if you don’t host a specific event, you can post a banner or sign at your office to say thank you. This works well for employee appreciation as well as customer appreciation.

16. Send a unique gift


We’ve all received small gifts such as pens, memo pads and calendars from companies. The nice thing about these items is that it keeps the name of the organization in your home environment. To make your thank you different, give a gift that’s not the everyday norm. Options range from personalized BBQ sets & laptop bags to USB chargers and headphones. The best gifts are relevant to your business and/or have a special appeal to your target market. (For example, one of our favorite gifts was a large golf umbrella from an insurance company to protect against a “rainy day.”)

17. Donate to a charity


If a recipient has a keen interest in a specific cause, you can donate to a charity in his or her name. Many non-profit organizations provide space to honor a person, team or company. Make sure to inform the individual you are thanking about the good deed.

18. Send a book


Books (and eBooks) on topics that are interesting to clients are often well received. As you interact with clients note any specific preferences, professional or personal, and look for relevant content. As they say, knowledge is a gift that pays dividends.

19. Send an edible gift


Cookies, brownies and sweet treats are often appreciated, especially around special holidays. Many dessert-delivery services make it easy to add a personalized note. Be specific about why you appreciate the person (or team) you are thanking!

20. Send flowers or a plant


Flowers have been a favorite way to say thank you for decades. Some florists claim that flowers evoke a more emotional response than other gifts. Flowers are especially appropriate for situations when you don’t know whether edible gifts will be well received.

Many cultures have their own etiquette surrounding appropriate colors and types of flowers. For a list of guides for countries around the world, check out this culturally sensitive resource.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ― John F. Kennedy