Think about the last time you did something nice for someone. Maybe you held the door open so they could go through more easily. Maybe you gave money to charity. Maybe you picked up some trash in a parking lot, or returned a wayward shopping cart to its stall so the grocery store attendant wouldn’t have to chase after it. Doing good things for other people makes us feel good about ourselves, but the icing on the cake is receiving a heartfelt “Thank you” that lets us know someone else appreciates our efforts.

Now think about the people with whom you do business—the customers who are your livelihood. What is your relationship with your customers? Do they have your respect? Do they treat you with respect? Are they pleased to do business with you? Do they value your products and services? Do they trust your brand? Do they feel valued, appreciated, and acknowledged?

Building good relationships with your customers is the key to creating success. Telling your customers “Thank you for your business” is an excellent way to make them (and you!) feel warm and fuzzy inside.

And while it’s wonderful to be genuinely altruistic, an added fact is that studies show people are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. If you treat your customers like the valuable human beings they are, they’ll value your business more in return. It may seem shady to have increased profitability as an ulterior motive, but caring about your customers and being smart about your business don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

So how do you start thanking your customers? If you see your customers in person, simply tell them! Saying “thank you so much for coming in today” will make someone smile and come back again, even if they didn’t buy anything on their first visit.

If you have your customer’s mailing address, sending a heartfelt thank-you note after every purchase or after every visit (if you’re a service-based company, like a massage therapy office) will never go unappreciated. Bonus points if the note and the envelope are hand-written! Plus, a hand-addressed envelope is much less likely to go straight into the circular file.

If you’re a large company with lots of clients, you may be forced to send a thank-you email instead of a handwritten note. But since emails are still considered impersonal, your best bet is to thank your customers by creating value-adding content just for them—a style guide for fashionistas, a grammar guide for content marketers, pet care tips for new pet owners—and include it in the email. Also, consider using the client’s first name if possible—that way they’ll feel more like you’re talking directly to them as an individual.

You can also throw a thank-you event to thank all your customers at once. If you’re a local business, rent a nearby conference center and hold a free seminar. If you’re a web-based business, create a special webinar only available to your customers, or a special thank-you video, or a special episode of your company podcast. Get creative!

When writing a thank-you note (or even an email), use words like “valued,” “appreciated,” “welcome,” “special,” “favorite,” “grateful,” “important,” and/or even “esteemed.” And be specific so the customer knows you’re acknowledging them:

Deborah, thank you so much for your visit last Thursday! We hope you’re enjoying your new yoga mat. (The Zen model is one of our favorites, too!) Please feel free to contact us with any questions as you begin your yoga journey, or visit our website to watch some free beginner’s yoga videos and get 15% off your next purchase. You can also sign up to receive a free eco-friendly water bottle on your birthday as an extra thank-you gift from us. Namaste!”

The Power of “Thank You”

Here is one example from one of the AHG team about how a small gesture can create a lasting impression.

In January of 2020, my mother and I drove five hours from our small town to the hustle and bustle of Nashville, Tennessee to attend a conference on type 1 diabetes. Our hotel was located downtown, and it was more luxurious than anything we’d ever seen, so we gushed and giggled about it to the two young women at the front desk, who giggled along with us because we probably looked and acted like a pair of backwoods hillbillies. Our overnight stay was being paid for by a scholarship from JDRF (the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), so we felt like royalty.

About an hour later we were sitting in our room fretting over the price of room service when there was a knock at the door. A hotel employee handed us a gift bag that contained a box of shortbread cookies, two bottles of Evian, a metal water bottle, and a book titled “100 Things to Do in Nashville Before You Die,” all from the hotel gift shop. It included a very sweet note from the young ladies we met in the lobby:

Hi! We hope that y’all have an amazing time tonight in Nashville! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you enjoy your free night in Nash! <3, Grace & Sarah

You can bet that the next time I go to Nashville, even if I have to save up for it, I’m definitely staying there! When you go out of your way to make someone feel special when they’re inside your business, using your products, or receiving your services, it really resonates with customers and earns you their loyalty.

So believe in the power of kindness, the power of empathy, and the power of “thank you!”