Customer Experience

The Power of a Hand-Written Note to a Customer

Key Takeaway

Everyday we are inundated with messages, emails, posts, tweets and more. We aren't flooded with mail, least of all personalised, hand-written mail. Who will you write to?

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    The first hand-written note I ever received from a business came from Wufoo. It was by definition an unforgettable experience - it happened nearly 10 years ago and I haven't forgotten! Here's what it said:

    I hadn't received a note like this for nearly a decade, but in the last two months, two have come through my front door.

    Exhibit A - Three Mills Bakery

    The first came from Three Mills Bakery with our first order (outstanding bake-at-home croissants) for Father's Day:

    Exhibit B - Dimple and Dot

    The second note came with a Christmas present my wife ordered from a small Australian online store, Dimple and Dot:

    Receiving a note like that evokes emotions that a generic email never can. This note made me feel like we did something worthwhile - we didn't just purchase a Christmas present, we supported a family.

    Whether the note is from a family, a developer or a team of bakers, they make a big impact. Not only does the customer feel good, they are also more likely to return. This example from The ROI of Gratefulness illustrates this benefit:

    In this experiment, the Donors Choose staff sent hand-written thank you notes to half of their recent first-time donors. The other half received no thank you notes. The results showed a direct correlation between being thanked and the likelihood of giving again. In fact, those who who personally thanked were 38 percent more likely to give another donation, proving an actual return on investment in gratitude.

    Here are three reasons why hand-written notes are so effective:

    1. Hand-written notes are memorable

    Everyday we are inundated with messages, emails, posts, tweets and more. We aren't flooded with mail, least of all personalised, hand-written mail. This makes these experiences stand out.

    2. Hand-written notes are remarkable

    As Seth Godin explains, being remarkable isn't the same as being noticed. Being remarkable means being worthy of someone making a remark about. A hand-written note is worthy of being remarked about. Remarking is what I'm doing here and remarking is what other customers are doing on social media. For example:

    3. Hand-written notes provide a 'real person' reality check

    When you receive a hand-written note you are reminded that the business you are interacting with is powered by people. With this in mind, you are likely to be much more understanding if something isn't quite right. You are also less likely to post a negative Facebook comment or Google review.

    Hand-written notes are relatively low cost and don't require a fancy set-up - two of the examples above were written on cheap, unbranded paper! Of course, there is time required to write these notes but as the examples above illustrate, this is time well spent.

    Who will you write to?

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