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,
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
- If it’s a high ticket item then go out and BUY some decent thank you cards at a stationary store.
- Handwrite a simple message
- Handwrite the envelope and put a real stamp on it.
- 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.
- Put the customer’s name in the subject line
- Put “Thank You” in the subject line
- Use the client’s first name or surname in the salutation
- 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.