Commit Random Acts Of Gratitude

“Thank you”. Two simple words – two syllables. A microsecond to speak. Yet, in this day and age, a term that, often, goes unused, underused, or is used incorrectly or disingenuously. Let’s take a moment to re-kindle our recognition of the profound usefulness of this term.

Let’s begin at the beginning. How many times have you heard someone say, “thanks” in passing, and considered whether it was due to rote programming, or whether it was the result of a sincere appreciation of the act leading to the utterance? While good manners are, in fact, important (And I’m looking at you, here, Weird Uncle Pete), it is equally important that the manners utilized are so performed with the purest intent.

Every day at work (i.e. – ‘my day job’) I see volumes of quotation requests come across my desk. Additionally, I see a similar volume of new orders from clients and customers come across my desk as well. And I’m betting that, many of you, during your business day, have a similar experience that you can equate to this.
At their core, these quotations and orders are tacit, physical embodiments of the faith and trust we have earned from our clients or, on occasion, a new attempt to do so. The normal thing to do would be to process them as they require, and then move on to something else to finish out your day, so you can go home and not think about work for another evening. And this would be 95% correct.
But what if you took a step back, and considered what each of those documents REALLY meant. Each quotation request is an opportunity, afforded to you or your company. Each order is a financial boost provided by a client. Now, imagine your life – and your employee’s and co-worker’s lives – if those didn’t exist.

If you just heard your brain go, “>PLINK!<“, then you’re in the zen-zone for this post. If you didn’t, re-read the last paragraph. Go ahead – I don’t mind waiting.

All set? If not, then lie to me – we haven’t got all day.

Oftentimes, I keep a close eye on who’s sending me what, and when. If I see a heavy flow all of the sudden from a client I don’t normally see it from, I assess the situation and, often, I take five minutes to craft a sincere, appreciative thank you e-mail (calls are nice, but they can’t be dealt with at your customer’s discretion, and so I avoid them). It might read something like this:

“>Dude/Dudette’s Name Here<:

Good morning/afternoon! I just wanted to take a moment to personally thank for all of the opportunities to quote that you have been sending. We’re truly honored that you have allowed us the opportunity to serve your needs and, we hope, that you will continue to place your trust in us as new projects arise. We appreciate everything that you do for us and, should there be anything that I may do further, please don’t hesitate to call me personally.

Thank you, again, for your continued faith and patronage.”

To be fair, they’re usually a substantial bit better than this, as they’re more specific – I target certain key words that are customer and buyer specific, so the above looks a bit droll. Notice what I did, though: I took the time to plant suggestions in their head by using words like “faith” and “trust”, a phrase like “serve your needs”, and – most important – “appreciate.” When I am done crafting such a letter, I make sure it reads as 100% sincere because, it’s meant to be. If it comes off as crass or disingenuous or – worse – forced, then it has a negative effect. We don’t want any of that. And, a letter such as this is a far cry from dashing off a note that says, “Thanks for the quotes!”, isn’t it? Which would YOU rather receive?

Gratitude is free. Even more startlingly, over the years, I have noticed that when I send these, I receive unasked-for, reciprocal praise. This means that I not only got through to the customer, it also means that I have a soft spot in their psyche that another vendor may not.

And I don’t necessarily stop at customers: When a vendor comes through for me in a big way, I personally write a thank-you. This way, they know their work was not only noticed (by the guy at the top, no less) but appreciated. And – TRUST ME – they’re far more likely to do it again in the future for you, versus that guy who rides them hard and never thanks them. It’s true – and I’ve proven it.

Not good at writing letters? Just be honest, and open as you craft. Use a spell-checker if you have access to one and, if you’re REALLY lousy at composing, develop a few manipulate-able letters that can be tailored later. Finally, it’s always a good idea to let a third party read it, to assess the impact, or potential problems in the message, or emotion coming through. It never hurts to put a second set of eyes on anything.

So – in closing – I want to say thank you, to you. Without you, the readers, I would have no audience. Without your feedback, I would not feel compelled to continue posting. Some day, I hope, that you will put your faith and trust in myself – and in Digital Ninjas Media – to meet your needs, whatever they may be. I appreciate you, and the fact that you take the time out of your busy schedule to subscribe to this thread. Thank you, one and all.

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~ by digitalninjasmedia on June 2, 2012.

 
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