Written By: Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC
Over the holidays we received some wonderful greetings from friends and family wishing us Happy Holidays. I hate to admit it, but I have been remiss about sending out holiday cards for so many years now that I don’t think I can even gather up current snail mail addresses to accomplish the goal. I used to love to send out cards and I am not sure when I actually dropped that ball. I so enjoy receiving them and I especially love when they send a personal note or news about their past year and family updates. This all got me thinking about personal cards, especially thank-you cards. I do try to send these out and avoid the email communication and hopefully the recipients know some time and effort was put into the special messaging.
Here are some tips I have uncovered about sending thank-you notes that you might find useful. I am a firm believer that if a client gets a hand-written thank-you card, the impression it makes is unique and unforgettable.
What kind of card to send?
If you can have some cards designed that shout YOU, all the better. Maybe find some cards that reflect what you sell, such as cruises, theme parks, destinations, etc. Try to reflect your image with minimalist and artful cards. Show your personality in your messaging. If your relationship with that client is personal, use words to convey that in your card. If you do not know them well, something more simplistic and just a genuine message of appreciation for their valued business should do the trick.
Timing is everything!
Send your thank-you cards in a timely fashion. Put a note on your calendar to send these out a couple days after their return home. It is likely they may have stopped their mail, so you do not want to send it while they are still gone and have it get lost in the pile of circulars they may have to sort through. It is much better for it to arrive after they have settled in back home and can take the time to appreciate the gesture.
Should you include self-promotion?
My personal opinion is no. I think that takes away from the sincerity of the message and screams advertising. I know I will have critics who read this and disagree, but this is just my personal opinion. I would make the effort to send out coupons or whatever you want to send to promote future sales under separate cover.
Is penmanship important?
I love great penmanship and totally wish I had it! I think I used to, but like many other things as I grow older, it has not stood the test of time. If your penmanship is awesome, you should take pride in it. If not, do not worry about it. It is the thought and sincerity of the message that matters most. Of course, they should be able to read it.
What about those companies that send out cards for you?
I know there are many companies out there such as Sendoutcards and others that offer a great product to help you manage the process of customer communications for thank-you cards, birthday wishes, anniversaries and other memorable occasions. In fact, many agents are affiliates of these companies and are earning some residual income from promoting these offerings. I think if that method is the way you choose to manage your customer appreciation communication and it works for you, go for it. It certainly is an easier way to handle the process and has less chance for human error and forgetfulness. Having been the recipient of a few of these pre-designed and not-so-personal cards, I am not a fan. I think the impact of a card that has been personally hand-written with sincere messaging is far more impactful.
Always do the following and more if you have the time.
- Greet your customer by name.
- Start out with your words of gratitude and the reasoning behind your card.
- Share details about how much you enjoyed your experience with them and helping they with their trip plans. Share specifics here about where they went and something personal here to assure them you took the time to write this to THEM!
- Give a last thanks and close with the salutation that best describes your relationship with them.
In closing, thank-you notes are your way to show you are willing to take the extra time and effort to share your sincere appreciation for their business. Of course your impeccable service and handling of their vacation plans is the defining factor, but feeling appreciated by your personal thank-you card that arrives in their mailbox to enjoy and share with their family can make and an amazing and very memorable impact.