Appreciation can take many forms but often, it’s the little things that count most.
It’s easy to see the value of a timely thank you or pat on the back but, in this hyper-speed, over-scheduled world we live in, it’s also easy to lose track of – or forget altogether – the niceties that used to be considered part of standard operating procedure.
When was the last time you took the time to sit down and write a thank you note to someone? Not an e-mail, not an e-card, but an old fashioned handwritten note to express gratitude in your own words? If you’re anything like my family, you probably can’t recall the last time you picked up a pen much less had to say thanks without the help of Hallmark or Blue Mountain.com.
It’s not that we’re thankless creatures or a self-absorbed culture that has banished gratitude but rather that we are so consumed with work and our schedules are packed so tight, we can barely squeeze in time to brush our teeth regularly let alone take the time to express our thanks to everyone we encounter. But there’s the rub. According to many a study, we’d actually find that in professional circles, “employee productivity zooms when appreciation is expressed.”. Expressing gratitude is an easy way to increase loyalty – be it customer loyalty or employee loyalty. All human beings enjoy recognition.
In the end, we’re all quite simple beings. As human beings, we basically want to be acknowledged for work well done. When this validation comes, we feel fulfilled, motivated and even potentially inspired to reciprocate. Customers are similarly motivated and are more likely to return to a store or vendor who thanks them or shows appreciation for the business they’ve provided. In addition to being a nice thing to do, wise marketers will tell you there are other, more strategic reasons to show gratitude, too.
As author Wendy Maynard suggests, “…by showing gratitude to your prospects and customers, you’ll stand out because it’s not something that other business owners are in the habit of doing. Extending age-old courtesies now actually gives you an edge in the marketplace. It goes a long way toward cementing relationships with prospects and reinforcing customer loyalty”.
We would never suggest that expressing thanks verbally or in written format is a bad thing but, by tailoring how you thank those who support your business, you make yourself distinct, memorable and remind people what makes your business special and worth talking about.