When sending customers handwritten thank-you letters, know the tips to follow in order to get the most positive response possible.
It’s hard to build your brand in the long run if you don’t form a connection with your customers. There are multiple benefits to building a solid relationship with them. Most notably, you stay top of mind, standing out from the competitors.
This can also greatly influence their future purchases, increasing chances of both retaining customers and getting referrals. These don’t even need to be direct recommendations – positive word-of-mouth goes a long way in building up your business, especially if you’re not a large-scale company yet.
There are a lot of potential occasions to send out a letter to your customers. Reaching out after they make their first purchase sets the tone for the rest of your relationship.
Another opportunity to showcase your attention to detail is to reach out after a period they’ve been involved with your brand (for example, after a year of subscription to a certain service).
Let’s go over some essential tips that will help you craft the best thank you notes, show customer appreciation and form strong bonds along the way.
1. Go with handwritten cards
Of course, it would be the easiest to just send an email saying "Thank you for your order" in a couple of minutes and go on with your day, but this just doesn’t have the same effect as going a step beyond the regular follow-ups and putting in the effort to reach out to your customers.
In the age of automation and mass communication, one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the competition is to put in the effort to show that your customers matter in an unexpected way.
Handwritten thank you cards will attract more attention and feel more meaningful to a customer by making them feel like more than just a number. These may also circle back to the digital side of things, as people often tend to share gestures like this on their social media providing you additional visibility as brand advocates.
There are multiple benefits here, as the positive word-of-mouth that they spark brings more awareness for your brand, as well as a sense of appreciation for the customers.
Going “old school” doesn’t mean you need to craft every word in every letter differently – you can still make use of templates. Just make sure you sprinkle enough variety in there that they still feel true for the person reading them.
2. Set the tone with a greeting
Naturally, you’ll start by addressing the customer. Depending on the context, such as the nature of your product, target group and the prior relationship, you will set the tone by being more or less formal. Either way, avoid using the generic “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.”
Whether you decide on starting with a simple “Hi, Dan!” or maybe with a “Dear Ms. Jackson”, by inserting their name you make sure that they know the note is for them specifically, grabbing their attention from the start.
Compare that with an automatically generated message you’d get after completing your purchase – it immediately opens up space for more direct communication that they’re not receiving daily from every place that they shop at.
You should keep the beginning short, but you should also make every word count as the opening is essential for a good letter (or any interaction).
Same as with all the other communication channels, the way you open sets the stage for the rest of the interaction and grabs the customers' attention.
3. Tell them the reason you’re writing
Just because you’ve decided on getting more personal, this doesn’t mean you should send an essay. Keep it short and sweet by getting straight to the reason for your letter.
Tell your customers that you want to express your gratitude and state the occasion. Whether it’s your first time contacting them or they are returning customers, try getting in some specifics that will reference an experience they had and help put the relationship your customers have with your brand as the centerpiece.
You can use a simple “Thank you for shopping with us and supporting our business with your latest purchase”, but getting a bit more specific can help drive the point of genuinely addressing a single person at a time.
When you put it in a way that goes more in-depth about your appreciation, it makes them feel more valuable as they know exactly what their contribution means.
This part should give the customers a clear overview of how they fit into your business and the reason why you decided to reach out.
For example, this can be something along the lines of “We appreciate your continued support as our family grows. Seeing support from day one customers such as you help our business to keep evolving”.
4. Add more details
You should include some additional specifics in the middle portion of your letter to make it sound truly tailor-made for the person you’re addressing.
Every detail counts, no matter how small it may seem. Make a point of the time they’ve been using your product, mention something specific to their account or simply point out how their contribution made a difference for you.
This is an opportunity to showcase your connection, so you should aim to make sure that they feel appreciated. If you can’t find something specific about their purchases, try referencing the relationship from the angle of your brand development.
The result you’re looking for here is to make them feel that they contribute in more ways than the obvious fact that they’re trusting you with their money.
Even though the idea is to be specific and detailed, be careful not to overstay your welcome, as it should read as a heartfelt message and not an announcement on your website.
Resist the temptation to pitch anything in this letter, as any attempt at selling this way may cancel out the sincerity the note should convey. This will also help keep the tone and the flow of your letter aligned throughout.
5. Talk about the continued connection
As you’re building your relationship, the best way to round up your note to the customer is to reference the things that are coming. Talk briefly about your hopes for the future and make sure that they are left with the impression that you see them as an important part of everything that’s coming.
This shouldn’t sound too needy, but you do want to tell them that you’d be happy to have them on board and keep them as loyal customers they’ve proved to be.
The reader should always feel that you truly recognize their importance and leave the text feeling important.
If the occasion you’re writing for is a milestone you’ve passed, a great way to go about this would be to say something along the lines “We’re sure this first year was just one out of many more to come for us”.
This way you're including them in your future plans, expressing your desire for them to keep coming back, as well as pointing out their contribution.
Depending on the number of customers and your product type, you can set a pace that will allow you to keep the momentum going, as you can't maintain the connection without at least an occasional update.
6. Sign off in line with the rest of your letter
To finish your note, signing off should come naturally and be in line with the tone you used throughout. If you’re more direct and friendly, no need to get too formal with “Respectfully” or “Kindest regards”.
You can also use this opportunity to thank them once again if you had more lines of text between the first showing of gratitude and the finish just to underline the motive of your letter.
Same as with the beginning, you should keep it short and sweet, as this part should tie up the story and finish strong. Finally, sign the letter. Not as a company, but as a person.
Putting a name in front of the brand can contribute to making your bond with the customers stronger, as they see that it’s not just a random person handling external communication.
By ending on a personal note, you'll leave them with a feeling that this is just a part of the communication that is yet to come, not just a throwaway courtesy without any thought put into it.
You should always keep track of your customers and make sure they feel genuinely appreciated. Try and make a schedule to send out your business thank you letters at adequate times with a tool such as Calendly or some of the alternatives to Calendly to keep track of your communication.
Emphasize their connection to your brand's success to make them feel special and show that customer appreciation isn't just a formality to you.
When you have a reason for reaching out and it's easy to see how they relate to it, it becomes easier for the customer to sympathize with the gesture as it doesn’t feel like an effort to sell them something.
Aim to be specific in your communication and personalize as much as you can, but not overdo it. It’s enough to express your gratitude honestly, going one step further to reach out in an unexpected way that will certainly leave an impression.
It may seem like a challenging task, but when you start forming connections with your customers, using the personalized approach will always get better results than just a generic message they get from every other brand.
David Wachs is a serial entrepreneur, David's latest venture, Handwrytten, is bringing back the lost art of letter writing through scalable, robot-based solutions that write your notes in pen. Developed as a platform, Handwrytten lets you send notes from your CRM system, such as Salesforce, the web site, apps, or through custom integration. Used by major meal boxes, eCommerce giants, nonprofits and professionals, Handwrytten is changing the way brands and people connect.