The world is a loud and noisy place and it’s hard to stay above the noise level to get noticed. How will customers distinguish you from everyone else? The answer is to keep your message simple and reinforce it in ways that show your customer appreciation.
There’s a quiet, simple tool I’ve been using to show customer appreciation for years. It makes me stand out, even if only for a moment, with the people I meet and do business with. I use postcards. Pretty picture postcards are a fantastic way to say thank you to customers.
When I first started my business I had a list of just a few clients and several people I felt were influential in my field. Before traveling to do a speech, I would print out the addresses for 25 or so of these people and pack them along with stamps in my briefcase.
During my travels I would pick up picture postcards and send them to some — and sometimes all — the people on the list. Greetings often sounded like “Dear Robert, I’m here in lovely Disneyland at a marketing conference and can’t wait to get back and tell you all about the new ideas I have for you.”
“Rebecca, I’m here in the beautiful Rocky Mountains and remembered how much you love hiking. I’m thinking of you!”
I used simple messages to express customer appreciation and called when I got back with the ideas I promised. This assured people I was thinking of them and kept me on their minds. Sometimes I found my pretty cards posted on bulletin boards when I visited!
I sent so many postcards that I eventually designed and printed my own and still use them daily to keep relationships going beyond today’s ubiquitous email. I used beautiful photographs and created my own sentiments for the cards and had them printed on high quality stock. This effort didn’t go unnoticed. It was one more little detail that impressed clients and prospects and told them, “She cares.”
Last week I was on the road. I had 5 meetings in 4 cities. I carried postcards and stamps with me. At the end of the day I spent a few minutes and jotted a quick note to everyone who gave me their business card while I still had their face and their experience at the meeting in mind. In most cases I mailed the card from the same city and so they got their card before I even got home to send the email “special report” I offered at the meeting.
What does that handwritten card say about me?
I use them in the office too. Often when I get off the phone, I’ll take a minute or two, grab a card and write something nice about the conversation we just had. It’s a good reminder of our positive interaction.
A few years ago a woman who heard me speak in a workshop bought up a batch of my cards and took my advice about using them to “romance a customer.” She went through her customer list and found all the people that were hardly ever visited by a salesperson and started sending them postcards in the mail. Many responded with calls of thanks at her showing of customer appreciation. Over time — five years to be exact — she brought in an incremental $100,000 from these small companies no one had time for. It was simple. She wanted to make them feel loved too, and they paid her back. Now that’s simple and oh so sweet!
Find out how Pitney Bowes can help you stay in touch with your customers with online postage.
JoAnna Brandi is a customer care expert. She is the author of several books and the publisher of “The Customer Care Coach,” a leadership training course. JoAnna is not a Pitney Bowes employee and shares her insights on this blog as a paid contributor.