Picture this: You arrive home to the joyous surprise of discovering a handwritten card — real mail — hidden amongst the mound of daily junk mail. Woo-hoo!
At Help Scout, we are card-carrying members of the snail mail fan club. For the small amount of effort a handwritten customer thank-you note takes, it’s amazing the extent to which you can brighten the recipient’s day — and generate an indisputable return on investment for your business — by sending one.
How to write a customer thank-you note
Use this template to write thank-you notes your customers will love:
- Greet your customer by name.
- Express your gratitude, clearly stating why you’re sending the note.
- Include details about why enjoyed your experience with this customer — this is a prime opportunity to be specific and thoughtful.
- Repeat your thanks.
- Close with a sign-off (Best, Yours Truly, Kindest Regards, Warm Regards, Cheers, ♡, whatever feels right for you and your company), and sign your name.
Customer thank-you note examples
If you need a little more inspiration, consider these three examples:
I just noticed you’ve been a Help Scout customer for FOUR YEARS. Wow! Thank you for sticking with us for so long, and for all the feedback you offered when we were beta testing the Plus Plan. I hope it’s working out for you — and you know if you have any questions we’re always here! Thanks for always being such an awesome customer.
Kristi at Help Scout
Thank you so much for bringing your whole team onboard with Help Scout while you were testing out different help desks. Your advocacy means the world to us, and it was a true pleasure working with your team during the process — you even inspired us to make a fix that improves our product for thousands of other people! We’re so stoked you’ve chosen Help Scout — thanks for giving us the opportunity to grow with you. See you at SupConf next spring! :)
Tim and Your Friends at Help Scout
Thanks for joining the webinar this week, and for your thoughtful comments about the role of customer support in cyber security — I’ve always admired how you and your company are real leaders in that space. I know you’re working with Zainab on an upgrade from the Standard to the Plus plan (that’s fantastic, congrats on your team’s growth!), but please always let me know if I can be of any assistance too.
Mat at Help Scout
p.s. You mentioned your son collects stickers so I threw a few in the envelope for him … here’s hoping they go in his sticker book and stay off the walls this time. ;)
Handwritten thank-you card do’s and don’ts
When sending customers handwritten thank-you cards, follow these tips to ensure your efforts reap the most positive response possible:
- Don’t use a 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 purple glitter gel pen kind of person… well, your sparkly message will probably make your customer smile.
- Do use note cards or stationery that reflects 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.
- Don’t make excuses for your handwriting! If your second-grade teacher wrote “see me” on your handwriting homework, whatever. “Good” penmanship is overrated — as long as your note is legible, that’s what matters. Your handwriting is unique, which makes a personal note feel even more special and “real” to the recipient.
- Do respond in a timely fashion. It’s called “snail mail” for a reason, but it’s best not to wait so long that your customer forgets having done the thing you’re thanking them for.
- Don’t include anything overly promotional, like coupons or business cards. The point is to convey genuine gratitude, not to promote your business (that happens as a natural side effect). Stickers are A-OK, though.
Do showcase your company’s personality! If smiley faces and emoticons (or cat doodles, or a crayon drawing from your kid) are in line with your brand, by all means, include them. Mat Patterson and Emily Triplett Lentz attend a thank-you-note-sending party at Help Scout HQ
- Do include a little something extra when the situation merits 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.
Our favorite thank-you note stationary
Need help shopping for the right thank-you card? We’re fans of the personalizable thank-you cards and stationery at Pinhole Press. Use your company’s logo or that cute group photo from your last team retreat.
We also adore the truly special pop-up cards from Lovepop:
If you like more creative control, you can print your own custom-designed cards and envelopes — that’s what we do here at Help Scout. If you choose to create your own stationery, work with a designer who’s familiar with the printing process and can provide advice on card stock, dimensions, and the various printing options available.
Our note cards are printed by Mama’s Sauce on 100-lb. duplexed cover stock with plain white matching A2 envelopes. Embossing, debossing, foil stamping, and letterpress are all fun things if you have a bigger stationery budget.
Options for sending customer thank-you notes at scale
If you have more cards to send than you have people/time to hand-write them, one of the following options is certainly better than nothing at all:
- Postable: Postable prints your custom message in one of its patented handwriting fonts on its 100% recycled cards, then stamps and mails the cards for you. The only downside: Your customers might be able to tell the “handwriting” isn’t real.
- Handwrytten: If you don’t want to send customer printed handwriting, Handwrytten might be a better option. Handwrytten’s robots (yes, actual robots) handwrite your custom message in real ink.
- FeltApp: FeltApp lets you scrawl messages on your iPhone or iPad in your own handwriting. Choose a photo from your own library, then trace your message and the address (even the envelope is handwritten). They take care of the mailing.
The ROI of customer thank-you notes
If anyone tries to tell you there’s no way to prove the ROI of thanking your customers, or that sending handwritten thank-you notes “doesn’t scale,” don’t buy it.
Here’s why: The ROI when you thank your customers is inextricably linked to the ROI of word-of-mouth marketing. And when it comes to small- to medium-sized businesses’ toolkits, word-of-mouth marketing is a shiny power drill among screwdrivers.
What’s more, you don’t have to wait for it to happen “organically,” outside your company’s walls — thank-you notes let you cultivate quality word-of-mouth marketing yourself, and for a lower price tag than many other marketing efforts that won’t get you nearly as far.
Thanking your customers generates word-of-mouth marketing
It takes an exceptional product or customer experience to inspire someone to rave to their personal network about it.
One of the lowest-cost but highest-impact ways to prompt your customers to engage in word-of-mouth marketing about your product or service is to send a handwritten thank-you note.
Handwritten thank-you notes are such a rare throwback to old-school customer service because hardly anyone does it anymore. They stand out as a delightful gesture, one that makes people feel special enough to call it out and share with others.
Handwritten thank-you notes work better now than they did 20 years ago for a couple key reasons:
- They’ve become rare enough to feel unique and special enough to turn customers into loyal ambassadors
- Social media has increased the size of customers’ networks, and with it, the size of the audience who hears about it.
Whereas 20 years ago a customer might have told one or two people how nice it was for their mechanic to send a note following a tune-up, now people will snap a photo and share it with hundreds or thousands of friends and followers on their social outlets of choice.
“It’s not the money that makes these efforts shocking and awesome, it’s the care and creativity involved,” writes Gary Vaynerchuk in The Thank You Economy.
“Right now, there is a fortune in word of mouth that can be created,” he continues, “for companies who nurture relationships in these small but meaningful ways that turn customers into vocal brand advocates across large social media networks.”
In other words, your business can’t afford to ignore the ROI of word-of-mouth, and sending handwritten thank-you notes is an inexpensive but highly effective way to trigger word-of-mouth marketing.
Thanking your customers improves retention
Research shows that sending a thank-you note inspires other measurable, positive outcomes as well.
Wufoo is known for sending thank-you cards to customers. Every week, the team takes time to draft, decorate and mail personalized cards, a tradition that dates back to Wufoo’s early days.
And get this: According to Customer Ops team lead Renee Morris, “out of the roughly 800 customers who received handwritten cards from us last year, 50% fewer folks left our product than those who did not receive cards.”
Think about that: Retention rates are a full 50% better among customers who receive a thank-you note.
In another experiment, the staff of Donors Choose sent hand-written thank-yous to half of all recent first-time donors, and they found that 38% of people who received a thank-you note were more likely to give again than those who didn’t receive one.
Thank-you note recipients donate an additional $41 per year on average, translating to more than $3 million in additional donations per year.
Imagine applying that kind of lift to your business. What results would you see if you committed to thanking your customers?
As Robert Cialdini explains in his bestselling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the principle of reciprocity is a powerful motivator.
By nature, we don’t like to feel indebted to others, so if someone gives us something, we’re wired to give back. When customers receive a token of appreciation as heartfelt as a handwritten thank-you note, they feel compelled to return the favor — ideally with repeat business and public advocacy of your product or service.
Thanking your customers is an act of great customer service
Kristi Thompson knows how inarguable those results are. Thompson handles Customer Success for CartStack, an abandoned cart email solution for ecommerce companies, where she’s helped establish a number of high-touch customer experience initiatives.
In addition to providing a high-touch onboarding experience, Thomspon personally writes postcards to people who sign up for trials, sends handwritten thank-you cards and CartStack sticky notes to every customer who converts to a paid plan, and mails holiday cards to every paying customer.
She also practices “monthly random acts of kindness,” where she’ll send chocolates, CartStack swag, or other small but personalized gifts, just because. “We get really nice emails from people about how touched they were by our thoughtfulness,” Thompson says.
At first, CartStack didn’t have a whole lot of empirical evidence to go on — CEO Brett Thoreson was simply impressed by the personal note Zappos sent him along with a purchase of cleats. According to Thompson:
“It’s something he remembers to this day and has told a lot of people about. The inspiration to bring that to his own business was initially sort of a gut feeling.”
Now, however, CartStack has all kinds of data showing its high-touch service efforts are paying off: Over the past year, the company has doubled its MRR and increased conversion rates between 5-6%.
Perhaps more tellingly, 90% of the customer testimonials they’ve collected since launching the thank-you note initiative mention the quality of customer service, compared with 50% of the testimonials collected beforehand.
“It’s an easy thing to do, but a lot of people don’t do it,” Thompson said. “It’s such an easy win, to have a more personal touch and be more human and relational with your customers.”
Thompson continues: “So often that personal touch is lost in tech. Because we’re little — we’re bootstrapped — we don’t necessarily have all these resources to advertise or have big flashy ways to stand out. We have to stand out in a small but sincere way.”
Sending a thank-you note is a gesture that’s well worth the time
You can exhibit sincere gratitude in a well-worded email, but there are many occasions when you should make the extra effort to mail a real note. Handwritten thank-you notes convey sincere and heartfelt gratitude in a way that email simply can’t.
And while sending personal thank-you notes for every transaction or special occasion isn’t necessarily always scaleable — and the ROI on acts of kindness can be tricky to justify in a spreadsheet — thank-you notes do keep a line of communication open between you and your customer, and they keep your business top-of-mind.