Meetings Canada

Opinion

Unconventional Wisdom: The Impact of the Handwritten Thank You Note


BY SANDY BIBACK, CMM CMP

Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard the wailing of Canada Post:  Business is lousy so they are going to cut service to homes; they are going to raise the cost of postage and much more.  I do like the new marketing:  Delivering the online world.

How many of you remember the “good old days” when snail mail was the only way to get a contract, get BEO, etc?  No, don’t worry, this isn’t your mom saying how far she had to slog it to school in all kinds of weather and wasn’t allowed to wear pants to school (though I’m a product of that generation!).

This is about the simple impact of a handwritten thank you note.  Let me tell you a story. (And if what I’m about to say about the product makes you blush, I won’t tell anyone!)

I love luxury lingerie and every few years I break the bank and get not only what I need, but also what I want. This past spring was one of those times.

I went to a lovely lingerie store I know in Yorkville and Tabytha immediately asked if she could help me.  I told her I hadn’t been in the store in five or six years.  And, as dutiful database management does these days, she confirmed this!  Obviously I won’t go into details except to say I am now the proud owner of some lovely undergarments and of course, spent more than I should have.

All this is a credit to Tabytha’s excellent product knowledge and really caring about the customer.  One of her daughters called to complain about something as I was checking out.  Needless to say Tabytha apologized for the interruption.  No worries, I countered, I had two daughters of my own, both in their 40s.  And thus began an amazing conversation—that she and daughters would all survive as the girls moved into adulthood—sometimes barely survive!

I took my purchases home and was quite happy with my afternoon.  A few days later, I got an amazing handwritten  note from Tabytha, using snail mail.  In  part, here is what it said: “thank you so much for coming back to ….and thank you for allowing me to vent about raising girls…”

Well, she moved up in my books.  Whenever anyone asks where they can get lovely lingerie, where do you think I’m going to send them?  Great service, fabulous product, great conversation! No Twitter, No Facebook likes, just an old fashion note.

My point is—how long did it take her to write this?  And even though postage is going up, what’s the value of this gesture?  Where do you think I’m going next time?

All of us “sell” a product or service, whether a planner to potential attendees or an independent planner or a supplier—how many personal thank you notes do you send?

Think about it:  Canada Post will love you for contributing to their bottom line more and your clients—well, you will stand out!

P.S. If anyone wants the name of the shop, send me an email and I’d be delighted to give it to you, with regards to Tabytha.

Sandy Biback, Imagination+ MeetingsSandy Biback, CMP, CMM, is principal, Imagination+ Meeting Planners Inc. She has designed programs and taught at George Brown College’s School of Hospitality, Centennial College, Conestoga College and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas: Online. In 1997, she helped publish the textbook, Meetings & Conventions: A Planning Guide. Sandy was inducted into M+IT’s Hall of Fame in 2011



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