How NOT to Say Thank You

I received an e-mail the other day from the sales rep from whom I bought my new car.

At first glance, I was pleased by the gesture.  I recognized the e-mail address and the subject line said “Thank you” so I opened it up and at that moment the wheels fell off (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun).

The e-mail began,

“James Domanski

I want to thank you … ”

Of course, it was obvious that this was an “insert- name -here” template.  The “James Domanski” instead of “Jim” or “James” or even “Mr. Domanski” was a dead giveaway.  Any warm and fuzzy feeling I might have had went up in smoke.

I mean, how hard is it to simply insert the proper name?

Needless to say, the remainder of the e-mail message was lost on me. It had no value.  It wasn’t a personal note; it was a corporate message.  It was impossible to feel the spirit of the message because it was canned.  I began to wonder, had the rep sold dozens of cars over the last couple of weeks that he was so busy he couldn’t personalize my e-mail.  Probably not. So that leaves only one conclusion: he didn’t really care.

This faux pas has created two residual effects.  First, it sullied the purchase experience.  When I was still in the buying mode I felt special.  Now I feel kind of … ah … used.  Second, I have a survey from the dealership to complete about my experience.  What do you think I ought to say?  How should I rate it? Oh wait, there’s a third effect. It’s called ‘word of mouth.’  I have a few thousand readers who will see this e-mail…

Look, if you’re going to send Thank You notes there are two ways to do so.

The Best Way
  1.        If it’s a high ticket item then go out and BUY some decent thank you cards at a stationary store.
  2.       Handwrite a simple message
  3.       Handwrite the envelope and put a real stamp on it.
  4.      Send it and let it works its magic

This shows your buyer that you took the TIME and the EFFORT to say thank you.  It leaves most recipients with a warm feeling towards you and your product/service. You make them feel special, important, valued, liked, acknowledged and appreciated.  If a customer survey is to be completed, chances are it will be glowing. You might even get a referral or two.  Depending on the nature of the sale, a repeat purchase is not out of the question.

The Second Best Way

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of sending a card.  Go ahead and use an e-mail as a thank you vehicle.  Personalize it.

  1.    Put the customer’s name in the subject line
  2.    Put “Thank You” in the subject line
  3.   Use the client’s first name or surname in the salutation
  4.  Create your own customized thank you … do not use a template. Make it simple. You don’t need to gush. Don’t try to market anything.  A simple note of thanks is enough.

Alternatively you could search on line for a nice e-thank you card but personalize it as above.  While not as charming as old fashioned thank you cards an e-mail or an e-card at least shows the recipient that a degree of effort was applied to the task.


A Thank You note is a very powerful thing … if it is applied correctly.  It’s  simple and easy to use. When applied incorrectly it becomes a major concern, possibly a future deal killer.  Either do it right or don’t do it all.

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