As I write this blog, Christmas is approaching, and the end of year festivities are underway. I am catching up with my annual correspondence writing Christmas Cards to my friends and acquaintances with whom I like to keep in touch. How nice it is that the tradition of exchanging Christmas cards is not lost and forgotten in an electronic age when a brief email seems now to suffice for so many. In the Anglo-Saxon Community, it is still the Christmas card which takes pride of place in communication which our friends and relatives.
And what of another tradition? As a child I vividly recall after Christmas being sat down at a table in order to write thank you notes to all the relatives and friends from whom I had received a present. Saying please and thank you is one of the first lessons we learn as children. Has the tradition of just saying thank you been lost and forgotten? Wherever I go, and whomever I see, I am always keen to show my appreciation for any activity which has been done well and for excellent services provided. How nice it is to be on the receiving end of a thank you. It brings a cheerful smile to the people’s faces and boosts morale wherever I go and say thank you. How quickly people are keen to tell you when something is bad or unsatisfactory and make a complaint; but the opposite is rarely the case.
In this world of emails and texts, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, What’s App, etc. etc., the simple and quick act of writing a handwritten expression of gratitude can go a long way. There’s something special today about a handwritten note. I keep a stack of cards and envelopes with me to write thank you notes after an event. It just takes a few minutes and can have profound effects on the recipient. You create return business when you take pen in hand and write, Thank You, to your counterparts. Just to say these two simple words is more creates more than just a feel good factor, it opens up doors which you could never imagine.
A written thank you can go a long way to boost self-esteem and morale. A recent study has shown that in the workplace productivity actually rose by more than 50% after the staff received a regular congratulatory thank you, which was personalized and tailor made for each of them. Want a more eager team? Try saying Thank You more often.
Study after study reveals that when you say “Thank you” to your customers, clients and counterparties, they tell their friends about the exceptional service and products being delivered. Increasing revenue and returns are a simple bi-product of this most basic of activities. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. We all have this very powerful tool, to use the words Thank You. They have the ability to motivate, create good will, make peace, and solidify commitment. However, my view is that most of us are simply not using this very potent little two words device effectively. Lots of things happen when we sincerely thank someone. First, the obvious, you feel good about yourself for having manners and being polite.
Let’s look at some of the obvious benefits for the provider of the expression of thanks:
- Produces positive emotional state
- Increases your sense of well being
- Triggers ‘feel good’ hormones
- Re-enforces virtuous cycle in your brain
And the benefits for the highly esteemed received of the thank you:
- Feels higher levels of self-worth
- Triggers greater desire to help the thanker
- Triggers a helpful behavioral attitude toward others
- Appreciates being needed
- Feels more socially valued
Expressing thanks regularly and doing it well is one of the most profitable business strategies we can utilize. Many studies have chronicled how employee productivity rises exponentially when appreciation is expressed. Profitability increases. Counterparties go the extra mile to accommodate and deliver “just in time” when they hear gratitude regularly. Giving thanks works in business. So what are the most effective and efficient ways to express gratitude to these important people responsible for our business success?
It’s one thing to say, “I appreciate what you did today. Thanks a lot.” This is too general and vague. When you thank them for something specific, that sticks! That’s a thank you which will be remembered because it sticks. Thank them for that specific activity.
Target your appreciation on what the employee or counterparty has done. “I like how you persevered and persisted there when that customer was being difficult. You were really patient and respectful.” The same type of strategy goes for vendors. Give thanks for doing something that was an extra-mile effort, recognizing the above-and-beyond work. Showing that you know something about them, and that you’re able to place yourself in their shoes, is incredibly valuable. Connect your gift-giving with life beyond the business walls.
As I close this blog for 2017, I wish all my avid readers great success in 2018 and I would implore you all to remember to say thank you for all the great things in life and all the good thigs which happen and make a lot of people feel good about themselves and the jobs they are doing. Many put a lot of hard work into the community and their commitment is commendable. Let’s thank them for that commitment and especially when they deserve that little pat on the back.