A few years ago I wrote a post for the blog that is worth revisiting here as it seems particularly appropriate as we approach Thanksgiving. At 3 Birds I feel very fortunate to have a company comprised of smart, creative, clever, committed, funny, fun-loving and good natured people. At this time of year, it's a great opportunity to say thank you to our staff, our customers, and our partners for all you do--we couldn't do it without you.
Thank you. Period.
Thank you. [Pause.]
I wanted to let the words sink in for a minute. These two words are simple but powerful especially when they stand alone. I have been noticing lately that, all too often, thank you is either completely forgotten or it is used like a foot in the door.
If you read the blog, you know I have three young children so I don’t always hear as many "thank you"s as I would like. After all, I am merely here to serve the needs of my adorable little dictators. But I like nice manners. I am certainly not the only person who laments the erosion of manners in contemporary society or complains about what feels like a rising tide of entitlement infecting human interactions. I would certainly like for my kids to grow up and inhabit the polite camp, so I am trying to instill and reinforce good manners in them. I am often heard whispering or prompting, “Did you remember to say thank you to so-and-so for such-and-such?” As a result, they tend to be pretty good about saying please and thank you out in the real world, but at home, it can be another story because the things Layton and I do for them are viewed as part of our job descriptions as parents. When one of my kids spontaneously thanks me for something that I have done for them, it feels like a gift. It’s a snapshot of the people I hope they will grow up to be and confirmation that all of the everyday things I do to try to make their lives run more smoothly are not just wallpaper. Yes, I am pretty easy when it comes to stuff like that. I am also a sucker for macaroni necklaces.
Sometimes thank you can get lost at work too. Managers forget to say thank you to their reports or think that they don’t have to thank people just for doing their job. But a simple thank you can go a long way. Thank you can be a nod to an employee for having a strong work ethic. It can serve as recognition of the fact that members of your staff have choices about where to work. It also demonstrates that, as a supervisor or boss, you take note of what your team is doing well and not just the times when mistakes were made.
Thank you can also be used strategically in an attempt to achieve the objectives of the thanker. I call this a tactical thank you. You have likely seen this personally and in business. It happens when a friend, neighbor or co-worker thanks you profusely, pledges her undying appreciation and, after giving you a moment to bask in the glow of being recognized for your good deed, asks you to do something else for her. Companies do this too.
Marketing campaigns that thank customers for their business and include a coupon or incentive to encourage the consumer to purchase products or services again in the future are a component of most marketing strategies. Don’t get me wrong, loyalty programs, encouraging repeat business and customer retention campaigns are an important part of most B2C marketing strategies for a reason – they’re effective. We do them. You should do them too. I am simply saying that sometimes it is nice to say thank you just for thank you’s sake and the holidays are an especially nice time to do that. By all means, keep doing what you’re doing, especially if it is working for you, but think about adding a piece to tell your customers thank you. Period. People will notice and it will distinguish you because it doesn’t happen enough.
Simple. Different. Powerful.