Customers are the most valuable asset your company has; after all, without them you wouldn't be in business. With that in mind, ask yourself when is the last time you thanked a customer? I don't mean the obligatory “Thank you for your business” spoken at the end of a transaction or written on the bottom of an invoice or receipt. I am talking about genuine, heartfelt expressions of appreciation. This sounds simple, yet it is amazing how many companies don't do this, or don't do it well.

How do I thank thee? Let us count the ways.

Personal Thanks

Writing thank-you notes is becoming less and less common. These days, it is almost always a surprise—and a pleasant one—when someone sends a sincere and personal thank-you note. So one obvious way to differentiate yourself and your business from your competition is by sending customers handwritten thank-you notes. There are only a handful of times I have received a handwritten note from a business, and I can remember them all. Among the standouts: Salon Radius (a hair salon profiled in Chapter 13) following my first visit; Coldwater Creek, a clothing retailer, after buying a large number of items in one of their mall stores; and online retailer The Busy Bunny, mentioned earlier in this chapter.

A handwritten thank-you note is one of the best ways to recognize customers. Make it easy to write thank-you notes between appointments or sales calls by keeping a stack of note cards and envelopes handy, ...

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