Prime the pump
June 28, 2022
When last did you say ‘thank you’ to a customer?

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you intentionally said “thank you” to a customer? Recently, I asked someone this question and their response was – everyday, my staff is taught to say “thank you” after every interaction with a customer. Then, the entrepreneur went on to share about a purposeful interaction with a client, not to make a pitch but a thoughtful ‘check in’ and how nurturing that was to the business relationship.

Successful businesses are built on a solid relationship with employees and stakeholders and, adopting an attitude of gratitude is one way to cultivate these relationships. However, showing gratitude goes beyond a company’s customer service policy of saying “thank you” after every transaction or hosting an annual customer appreciation day.

The power of gratitude lies in consistent, intentional, and sincere actions.

Because “thank you” is for most businesses, an everyday occurrence, it has become inert knowledge.

Business owners and their employees know they ought to say “thank you” but do not fully understand why.

They express it without understanding the value of it and the power that it wheels. “Thank you” should never be seen as just expected behaviour but instead, a business strategy and one that has the potential to be a company’s most profitable tool, if practiced year-round and done well.

Studies after studies have confirmed that gratitude is big business. When you say “thank you” to customers, when it is intentional and unexpected, they spend more money and tell their friends and family about your business. An accomplished Marketing Consultant, Jeffrey Slater decided to run a “thank you” experiment after a bunch of hard sells from companies and only one call to say, “thank you”.

He asked ten sales representatives to call customers who made purchases in the last eighteen months, just to say, “thank you”. The team used a script so that everyone delivered a consistent message to every customer. This seemingly simple gesture resulted in a ten percent increase in orders from those customers.

Studies have also shown that most business people say “thank you” in the most minimalistic ways because they feel that the recipients of the message will find it embarrassing. This was confirmed in a research on the effectiveness of “thank you” messages conducted at The University of Chicago. This study revealed that we tend to undervalue gratitude.

The researchers analyzed saying “thank you” from the sender, and the recipient’s points of view. An abstract of the research article titled “Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciate.” By Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley states, “Expressing gratitude improves well-being for both expressers and recipients, but we suggest that an egocentric bias may lead expressers to systematically undervalue its positive impact on recipients in a way that could keep people from expressing gratitude more often in everyday life. Participants in three experiments wrote gratitude letters and then predicted how surprised, happy, and awkward recipients would feel. Recipients then reported how receiving an expression of gratitude actually made them feel.

Expressers significantly underestimated how surprised recipients would be about why expressers were grateful, overestimated how awkward recipients would feel, and underestimated how positive recipients would feel.”

“It is a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.” Robert Benigni

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