by Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: November 19,2001
“Thank you for being my customer.”
That’s what I say to people as I look them in the eye and smile. If anyone attends one of my seminars, buys a book or tape or signs up for our Internet training, I look at them and thank them. They can feel my thanks.
How do you thank your customers?
As the holiday season approaches the world is upside down, and many won’t be much in the mood to celebrate in the usual manner.
Since at this moment your sales may be down, you may want to thank people you neglected to thank properly when things were rolling and you took them for granted. And since the “seasons” are upon us, the opportunity could not be greater.
Some businesses, mostly large, and often the “only game in town” have no concept of thank you or polite. They think it’s A-OK to thank or speak to people in a rude way… seems obviously stupid, but it’s amazing what takes place out there.
Yesterday a flight attendant brought me a bottle of water — “Thank you so much,” I said as sincerely as I could. “Uh huh” she said without even looking at me. Maybe I wouldn’t have taken it so personally if the gate agent hadn’t just called me (the only person standing there) “Next person in line!” not looking at me — and then gives me a boarding pass for my $2,000 flight, and without looking at me AGAIN and says, “All set.”
“All set for what?” I inquired. “Oh, you mean THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR FLYING AT A TIME WHEN WE REALLY NEED IT. WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS.” I said in a louder voice — looking her right in the eye. She glared back at me like I was nuts. Hey, maybe I am, but I’m an appreciative nut.
OK, OK, no more negative — this is a celebration of THANKS.
A few months ago I was invited to the beautiful island of Trinidad by Lawrence Duprey on behalf of the Colonial Life Insurance Company.
We were met at the airport by Rupert Superville. As he drove us around the island, we were compelled to thank him or complement him many times. “Thank you thank you” he would always reply. A double thanks said real fast — I LOVED it. A beautiful way to thank someone — completely unique and sincere.
Here are a few ways to recognize opportunities to thank others, and personalize the thank you with a gift that WOW’s. I asked my incredible staff for their best thank you’s. Here they are:
Complaint response: Traci Capraro’s (our Web Mistress) friend moved from New Jersey to California and was complaining about not having any Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to drink when she visited her. As a thank you for her hospitality, Traci sent her a box full of Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee, cups, lids, straws and napkins.
Services rendered: Ellen Losch (our Director of Special Projects) gave her relatives a gift of a weekend at a bed and breakfast and a dinner certificate after they helped pack and move her into her new home.
Symbolic/sentimental thanks: Michelle Joyce (our Director of Events) gave her brother a Widows Mite (a genuine Judean coin from biblical times). The coin tells a story of a widow who gave all she had to the poor. Michelle thanked her brother for always giving to others. Her brother is an officer currently serving in the United States Army.
A job well done: After a seminar I did for The State Journal of Charleston West Virginia, they sent me two dozen cookies with an edible photograph of me on them. We loved them. The staff bit off the heads.
And on the personal side: Teresa Gitomer (my beautiful wife) received sheet music from a valued supplier, autographed by the composer because she likes to play the piano. Jeffrey (that’s me) received an autographed baseball that was signed by Burbank Hilton hotel staff after they found out I collected sports memorabilia. WOW!
It’s real easy to be memorable. Call your customer or vendor, find out what they like, and send some. Or you can develop a concept (like the signed baseball) and make it a theme.
I have seen a bunch of cards this year that combine the holidays, thank you and the flag. It’s refreshing, especially in these troubled times.
The unstated benefit of thank you is the feeling you give to others. Saying thanks and giving thanks cannot be underestimated. And should not be underdone. The power of sincere “thanks” cannot be measured. But, without “thanks” you are willing to forgo two powerful words: Repeat business.
Ultimate Thank You: This is my 500th column. For your loyal readership, for your faxes, e-mails, Web visits, and purchases… thank you thank you.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
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