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Relationship Management : 8 min read

How to say "thanks" to a client or customer for their business

Be sincere and time your thank you right to make the biggest impact

Despite all of the automation and hacks available in the modern business world, nothing builds a relationship quite the same way as saying “thank you.”

Too often, sales teams get caught up filling their pipelines with the next batch of leads or following up with prospects. There isn’t a lot of time to stop and thank customers for their loyalty.

The funny thing is, the most valuable part of your pipeline is the people who've already purchased something from you. On average, 20% of a company's customers are responsible for 80% of their future profits (theCLIKK 2020), so it makes sense to take care of existing customers.

Sure, saying “thank you” is a polite gesture. But if you say it the right way, it can cement your relationship with a customer (and help guarantee their future business).

Not sold on thanking clients? Let’s look at:

  • Why it’s important to say thank you
  • How to write the perfect thank you message
  • How to take a customer thank you from “good” to “great”

Why it’s important to say thank you

It’s a nice feeling when someone thanks you. It’s a little verbal reward that builds appreciation between two people. But when you thank a customer (the right way), a “thank you” message can mean a lot more.

You’re not only acknowledging their business and showing your appreciation, but you’re also planting the seeds of brand loyalty. Customer appreciation shows people that you aren’t just another faceless revenue machine — you’re invested in the business relationship with them, the valued customer.

But how much do customers care about feeling appreciated? It turns out they care a lot.

A study by NewVoiceMedia found that feeling unappreciated is the top reason customers switch companies.

But how much weight does a “thank you” carry in a real-life situation?

After a bunch of hard sells from companies (and only one call to say thank you), Marketing Consultant Jeffrey Slater decided to run a "thank you experiment."

Receiving a thank you message himself inspired Slater to test something out. He asked ten sales reps to call customers who bought something in the last 18 months just to thank them. The team used a script so everyone delivered a consistent message to every customer.

The result? The company saw a 10% increase in orders from those customers.

But don’t think that this is a one-off fluke. Customer appreciation has a real effect on your bottom line. The stats don’t lie:

  • 55% of customers trust companies less than they used to (which means you’ve got to work double-time to win people over).
  • 60% of businesses have lost a customer because the customer didn’t think the business cared about them. Ouch.
  • As little as a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by a whopping 75%.

Customer thank you’s work because they’re sincere. In today's digital world, we don't get nearly enough face-to-face time with our customers. Sending a sincere thank you (whether it's by email, phone or snail mail) is a way for us to nurture relationships and shake our customer's hand (digitally).

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How to write the perfect thank you note

Now that we know why customer thank you’s are so important, how can your biz actually make it happen? Writing the perfect thank you note usually comes down to the medium you’re using. Depending on the reason for saying thanks to your customer, there are a couple of different ways you can deliver it:

  • By note: If it's for a relatively minor thing, like thanking your customer for their feedback on your product.
  • By letter: If it’s for a high-ticket client, or you need to make it a bit more serious.
  • By email: If you want to keep it informal and fun.

Follow these quick tips to write better customer notes, full-on letters and thank you emails that get results.

Say thanks with a handwritten note

Sending an old-school, handwritten note is up there with the most sincere ways you can thank a customer. Handwritten notes have a 98% open rate. That means there’s a much higher chance of a customer reading your message via snail mail than if you were to use another medium, like email.

Writing a thank you note doesn't cost much (stamps are $0.58), and it doesn't take much time, either. But what it will get across to your customer or client is that you took time out of your day to thank them. You actually picked up a pen, wrote a message on paper, sealed it in an envelope, and made a trip to the post office (well, someone on your team did, even if it wasn’t you). If that doesn’t scream “I value you,” we don’t know what does.

Of course, some thank you notes are better than others. When you’re writing your note, be sure to:

  • Greet your client by name. And please spell their name correctly.
  • Express your gratitude and clearly state why you’re sending the note.
  • Include details about why you enjoyed your experience with this customer (be specific and personalize it as much as possible).
  • Repeat that you’re thankful for their business.
  • Close with a sign-off and sign your name. If your relationship with your client is more formal, you can sign off with a "best/regards." If it's more casual, don't be afraid to mix it up and inject a bit of personality into your sign-off by saying something that feels more natural, like "cheers."

Here’s an example of what a thank you note might look like:

Hey (customer’s name)!

Thank you so much for the wild ride we've had over the past year. It's been amazing to see your business achieve (insert achievement) and watch your customer base grow as a result. We especially appreciated you reaching out to help us with (insert any feedback/recommendations made by the customer), it's helped us a lot. We're so grateful you've chosen (your company name) to go on this ride with you — thanks for giving us the chance to help you grow!

Cheers,

(your name) and the (your company) team

Pro-tip: If you have hundreds of customers to thank and not a lot of time, companies like Inkpact can send handwritten notes to your customers for you. Just type out your message and they’ll take care of the other stuff like printing and posting.

Say thanks with a letter

If your customer is a big-ticket account or they’re just more traditional, sending them a brief note might not seem like enough.

In cases like this, you may want to send a formal thank you letter instead. For example, if you teamed up with a client on a case study or they referred a lot of business your way, you could say thank you with a slightly higher level of appreciation.

The thing about thank you letters is, the timing matters. If you're thanking a client for a referral, you need to send the letter when the referral is still fresh. Or, if you're thanking a client for collaborating on a case study, the thank you letter should coincide with its release to make more of an impact.

A thank you letter might look something like this:

Dear (client/customer),

Thank you so much for all of your help with getting our recent case study on your business published. Your expertise and insight into how our business is helping you achieve your goals were hugely appreciated by our marketing team.

Our product team particularly loved how you’ve found unique ways to adapt (product feature) and (product feature) to fit your campaigns. We really appreciate you pointing these out to us, as they not only help with the ongoing development of our product, but they also show our newer customers what’s possible.

In the meantime, if we can do anything to return the favor, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Best regards,

(Your name)

This longer letter does two things:

  1. It allows you to go a bit more in-depth about how the customer helped you and why you appreciate their business.
  2. For more formal customers or big-ticket clients, it shows a sense of professionalism that often goes hand in hand with larger accounts.

Pro-tip: If you really want to give the letter some oomph, send it along with a useful gift.

Say thanks with an email

Emails have changed a lot in the last decade. We’re automating them, optimizing them, and personalizing them to get higher engagement rates.

But if you're sending a thank you over email, it's easy to slip into a trap of sounding robotic and impersonal. To avoid this, make sure you:

  • Address the customer by their first name.
  • Send the email from your company email address. A thank you sent from a generic email address (like “info@yourcompany.com”) loses its personal touch.
  • Keep it casual. This isn’t a formal thank you letter, so have a bit of fun with it. Throw in an emoji or two and show your personality (unless your customer relationship is formal, then hold back on these).
  • Don’t use it as a sales pitch. Just don’t do it. No mentions of offers or upselling allowed.

Even if a customer is brand new, it still pays dividends to thank them at the beginning of your relationship, like this:

outdoor voices customer thank you email

Pro-tip: If your CRM syncs with Gmail or another email provider, you can personalize and automate your thank you emails. For instance, using Copper, you can quickly create a template for thank you emails:

customer thank you email templates in copper crm
Create an email template that you can use to email customers en masse — but that is also personalized for each sendee.

In the example above, if you're sending a thank you email to customers who recently hit their one-year anniversary with you, use merge tags (the blue and green fields above) to automatically fill out certain details, like the customer's name and company name.

Automated, yet personalized. Magic.

How to take a thank you from “good” to “great:” 5 steps for writing better thank you messages

Every business is different, but we’re willing to bet you can do better than a quick, “Thanks for your time today!” email. Follow this 5-step process to write customer thank you’s that deepen relationships and generate more business — whether you send a formal letter or a casual thank you email.

1. Time it right: Mine your customer database for milestones

Saying thank you at the right time can make just as much impact on a customer as the thank you itself.

The first step to writing out a thank you note is deciding why you’re sending it.

Has the customer been with you for a significant amount of time? Is it their company’s birthday? Or maybe they just celebrated a massive product launch and it’s time to show them some love?

Whatever the reason, timing is everything. Executed at the right time, a thank you message can be even more powerful.

If you’re using a CRM, it’s easier to nail the timing and delivery of your thank you. All you need to do is pull up your customer list:

customer records in copper crm
COPPER LETS YOU PULL UP YOUR ENTIRE CLIENT LIST SO IT’S EASIER TO SKIM FOR ANNIVERSARIES AND BIRTHDAYS.

Next, check your customer notes.

If your team has been storing information about your customers’ milestones and feedback about your product — and they should be — now is the time to use it. (Conveniently, it's also the key to customer retention.)

Referencing seemingly minor (of course, they won’t be minor to your customers) details like these can take your thank you to the next level:

customer milestones in copper crm
IN COPPER, YOU CAN KEEP NOTES ON YOUR CUSTOMERS’ MILESTONES SO IT’S EASIER TO PERSONALIZE THANK YOU NOTES IN THE FUTURE.

2. Start it on a high

Start your thank you on a positive note. Whether you're sending a handwritten note or an email, make sure it gives off a positive vibe from the moment it lands in your customer's inbox (or mailbox).

One rule of thumb is to include words like “thank you,” “valued” or “appreciated” (if you don’t like these specific ones, that’s fine, just use a thesaurus) in the intro of the thank you. Communicating your sincere gratitude is the key here.

3. Personalize it

Personalizing your thank you message is the easiest way to make it more genuine. Personalization can increase sales by 56%, so try something like "Thanks for being an awesome customer, (customer's name)."

For email thank you’s, this is especially important — average open rates for email hover around 23%, which means you need all the help you can get!

For example, mention something significant that happened over the time that your customer has been with you. If they've launched a new product or won an award, mention it in your thank you message. That could look something like:

"I just wanted to say thank you for the last year of working together. It's been a blast! Even better that we got to see your company take home the (insert their company's milestone/award win, etc.)”

4. Cement your future relationship

Next, say that you’re looking forward to continuing your working relationship with the customer.

“We really appreciate you as a customer. Since you’ve used our product for the last year, we would love to hear if you have any additional feedback or questions about using it. As always, I’m here for you over phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon about (insert upcoming milestone/product launch etc. your customer is working towards)!”

This reinforces that you appreciate them as a customer, which means you’ll do what it takes to keep their business over the long term.

5. Hit them with another thank you

Keep it simple. Your sign off is a chance to add in a last bit of personalization to the thank you.

Don't just say "thank you for your business." It's impersonal, and the opposite of the genuine thank you that you're aiming to get across. You’re trying to strengthen your relationship, not continuing a simple business transaction.

Finish your thank you message off with something short and sweet like “Thanks again for a great first year together — looking forward to many more to come!”

A simple thank you can earn you a client for life

The focus on relationship building sometimes gets lost when sales reps are laser-focused on getting new leads and prospects into their pipelines.

But looking at the stats, the most valuable people in your pipeline are the customers who are already working with you. The best way to keep that business flowing is to make sure those customers feel valued and appreciated.

Pick your moment and your medium (handwritten notes, letters and emails all work for different occasions) — and then start writing. If you send your thank you sincerely and at the right time, it can score you a customer for life.

If you’re looking to take your relationship-building to the next level, try Copper for free to see how it can help you better nurture your business connections.

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