Sincerely Yours: The Handwritten Thank You Letter

Who writes letters by hand in this day and age? Most people rarely have the time to do so, especially if they are running a business – and besides, pen and paper suffer from a marked lack of delete or undo options, which makes writing by hand a conscious effort.

But therein lies the hidden power of a handwritten letter addressed to your customer. By investing time and effort, you show to the customer that you care about them. The medium really is the message in this case: the fact that the letter is handwritten means you have gone the extra mile and can bring much more goodwill than simply automatically inserting their first name in the greeting line of a follow-up email.

Handwritten notes express gratitude for doing business with your company in a meaningful way. And the fact is that they don’t actually take that long to write, because the content of the note is actually less important than the form – not to mention that your company will really stand out amongst the competition because the few extra minutes you took to write one.

Your business grows not only by selling the product or the service, it also grows by building a lasting relationship with its customers (which results in more sales through word of mouth and customers coming back). You should not overlook any means that helps you get on the good side of your customers, especially when it is as simple as a handwritten thank you letter – and it bears repeating, the fact that we live in an increasingly digital word and that your company is doing digital business only reinforces this effect.

So, who should get a handwritten thank you note? The criteria depends mostly upon the type of business you are in, but a good rule of the thumb is that you should send one to each and every one of your customers if you are able to. At one point, it will become really hard to write a thank you letter to be included with every single order, so it should be reserved for the most loyal or most important ones – the big orders and regulars, or for anyone who refers you and brings you additional business. And if your growth is going well, chances are that you have resources to hire somebody with nice handwriting and some copywriting chops to help you.

Doing this will elevate you above your competitors. Everyone sends emails and surveys, most have dedicated customer support through IM or video calls, but only a select minority pays attention to making such a small but ultimately powerful gesture.