Picture this: You arrive home to the joyous surprise of discovering a handwritten card—real mail!—hidden amongst the mound of daily junk mail. Yes! Fist pump! We are card-carrying members of the Snail Mail Fan Club and we suspect you are, too. Receiving a thoughtful card has always been, and continues to be, a high point of our day.

So from one Snail Mail Lover to another: Go ahead. Make your customer’s day.

Tools You'll Need

Sincere gratitude can be exhibited in a well-worded email, but there are many occasions when you should make the extra effort to send a handwritten card. As with an email, make sure your response is timely.

Your card-sending toolkit probably seems obvious, but a few reminders never hurt:

  • Don’t use red pen! It’s the equivalent of sending a “shouting” email in ALL CAPS. Blue or black ink is ideal. But if you’re a glitter pen kind of person…well, your sparkly message will probably make your customer smile.
  • Use note cards or stationary that reflect your business. If you’re a vet clinic, keep it playful with paw-printed cards. If you’re an architectural firm, reflect your image with minimalist, artful cards. A postcard does the trick, too.
  • Try to not write like an emergency room doctor; recipients appreciate legible notes.

The Content

Resist the urge to mimic Someecards’ witticisms in the content of your card. In case you’re not familiar, their e-cards have zinging one-liners we often think but aren’t supposed to say out loud, such as “Thanks for not unsubscribing,” “Thanks for tentatively accepting,” or “Thanks for understanding it was just a formality when I asked if you needed anything.” Funny, yes…but not appropriate for your customers!

Tips for what to write:

  • Greet the customer
  • Express your gratitude, clearly stating the reason for sending the note
  • Mention details about what you enjoyed about your experience with this customer (prime opportunity to be specific and thoughtful)
  • Mention the past, but allude to your future interactions with the customer (when will you make contact next?)
  • Repeat your thanks
  • Close with regards and a signature (examples: Best, Yours Truly, Kindest Regards, Warm Regards, Cheers)

Designing Your Stationary

Need help shopping for the right thank you card? Personally, we’re big fans of the cards and other I’m-thinking-of-you products at FabulousStationary.com and Pinhole Press. Pinhole Press donates a portion of their sales to support an important cause, so be sure to peruse their Charity Water products.

If you like more creative control, you can print your own custom-designed cards and envelopes. That’s what we do for maximum wow-factor. If you choose to create your own stationary, work with a designer that’s familiar with the printing process and can provide advice on card stock, dimensions and the various printing options available (depending on your budget).

We use 100-lb cover stock with plain white matching A2 envelopes. It’s printed digitally, which is not the best quality in the world, but is more budget-friendly. Embossing, debossing, foil stamping and letterpress are all really fun things to get into with a bigger stationary budget.

Our Two Cents

Sending a thank you note is a gesture well worth the few minutes it takes you. The note keeps a line of communication open between you and your customer and keeps your name in their mind.

When the situation merits a little something extra, you should go for it! Send a token of appreciation along with your note. Depending on the occasion, we send a book, stickers, a t-shirt or even baked goods.

One last thing: The ROI on acts of kindness like a thank-you note isn’t always measurable or justifiable in a spreadsheet. But it works. If you do the little things to create a wow factor for your customers it will always be worth the investment several times over.

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Gregory Ciotti

About the author: Gregory Ciotti is on the customer success team at Help Scout, the invisible help desk software. Learn how Help Scout takes the headache out of email support.