Kathie York, CSQE
Chief Wordsmith and
When my friend Shawn and I talked about meeting reminders, she gave me an excellent idea for the perfect follow-up (no pun intended) to that post.
“I’d like to find the best way to follow-up and thank clients.
Has the etiquette around thank-you notes changed?”
Funny you should ask.
When I sent the request for meeting reminder suggestions, several of you volunteered your process for – drumroll, please – following up with clients and saying, “Thank you!”
I appreciate everyone who donated their time to make this post special.
Let’s hit it out of the ballpark
The meeting reminder project naturally expanded to how we follow-up afterward.
E-mail is OK for during-the-workday communication, but I save something special for the end of a project.
Since having a meerkat deliver roses is pretty expensive, I usually go for something a little easier:
A handwritten thank-you note
NOT. AN. E-MAIL if I have an address.
This is especially impactful when looking for work, so I have a bonus for those in the job market.
Handwritten notes after a job interview
Mike H. has a great way to make a good impression after your interview, and most people don’t think of it.
Mike’s recruiter asked him to call her after meeting with a company since they both knew he was perfect for the job. He explains:
I was proud of myself. I’d done a great job and was on my way home to send a follow-up e-mail.
On the way, I called my recruiter.
She stunned me when she asked:
Did you hand-deliver your thank you notes?
Your thank-you notes.
They’re deciding today, Mike.
Hand a thank-you note to everyone who helped you today, including front desk personnel.
Don’t go home until you’ve delivered those notes!
If you can’t find the interviewers, ask if the receptionist will deliver the notes for you. She’ll say, “Yes.”
Her card goes last.
Look her directly in the eye as you hand her the envelope, and thank her for all her help.
I grabbed a box of professional-looking note cards at a nearby store and filled them out over a late lunch.
There I was, at a burger joint with a sandwich and a Coke®.
Suit-and-tie, portfolio, and writing thank-you notes!
Two quick items from Kathie before we continue:
• Check out the area beforehand. Then you know where you’ll camp out afterward. This helps calm you during the interview.
• Try to get a business card from everyone you talk with and give them your personal card (not the one for your current job!). Take detailed notes and tailor each card to something unique about your interaction.
Wrapping up Mike’s story:
I’m still big at handwritten thank-you cards; only now I give them to my clients or prospects.
I learned a lot about customer service from my recruiter.
Oh. I got that job all those years ago.
It was down to two people.
And I was the one who said, “Thank you.”
“I can’t throw this away!”
If your cards are entertaining, you’ll probably see them in the person’s office the next time you stop by.
How much fun is that?
I’ve heard, “Oh, I can’t throw this away!”
Kathie’s secret weapon
I found my secret weapon during a road trip in Alaska (U.S.).
Check out Anderson Images Nature Photography (Anchorage).
So-o-o many photo options from our ‘The Last Frontier’ state!
I buy the 5″ x 7″ cards, so there’s lots of room to write.
Your clients will like the quality and the short history of the photo. It’s a built-in gift of art and support for a small business.
Using a service to create specialty cards
Linda W. suggests handwritten notes for clients but sometimes uses Moonpig.com to create and mail fun, quirky cards.
Usually, though, it’s the personal touch. Linda tells us:
I go for handwritten when I can because it’s so personal – even if you have terrible handwriting (like me).
Another way to personalize is to use a service like Moonpig.
Whichever you decide, send it ASAP, while you still feel grateful and before they move to the next thing, and the glow is reduced.
Allow a few days for delivery.
What warrants a thank you note? I love being generous.
If I feel the feels, I send a note!
I even keep notes and a pen in my walking coat pocket and leave an anonymous thank-you when I see a beautiful garden.
Spread more joy!
The last item is a nice touch, isn’t it?
Enclose a small gift
Here’s an idea, from Leeha D., especially if you have crafting skills.
Kaisercraft has some lovely ready-made cards. I’m not very crafty, so I don’t make my own.
They have the supplies, though, for people who do.
Buying a package of their thank-you cards works for me.
I also got a letter stamp kit with ink in my primary brand colour. I use it to stamp my company name.
You can write a note on the card, plus send a little gift.
I enclose a little magnet set that matches my brand colours.
And who doesn’t need more magnets?!
Fun idea, but I suggest writing a note (about the magnets) on the envelope.
Postal workers and recipients need a heads up to quarantine the envelope.
Laying magnets against a phone or credit card can ruin your day!
In America, write messages to the post office directly below the stamp.
Although I offer advice as clients construct their websites, it hadn’t occurred to me to share this.
You know, that whole idea of forgetting to mention what you do all the time? Ha!
Thankfully, technical copywriter Zoe H. donated to this cause and added her idea:
I mail thank-you cards to clients when their website goes live and when projects wrap up.
Full disclosure: I haven’t done it for all clients or all projects. But I should!
I bought a box of 10 pretty thank you note cards and stamps, so they’re always available.
If the client is overseas or I have no physical address, I send an e-mail.
A great tour de force
So much useful information. Thank you!
Do you remember Chris D., from my post on meeting reminders?
As I close, let me share this insight from him. It’s from a time he failed a job interview p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l-i-t-y quiz (don’t you hate those?).
Some of Chris’ answers pegged him as not being good at following up.
The test was right. I was terrible at following up promptly.
But the irony? I found out I’d lost the job opportunity (and why) when I followed up with the interviewer!
Since then, I have noticed how, culturally, a lack of follow-up has become more normalized.
How damaging is the lack of follow-up, I’ve often wondered?
An unsent thank you shows ungratefulness and comes across as borderline entitled.
Someone took the time to send an e-mail, text, or mail, but we didn’t respond?
This displays a lack of respect or appreciation for the effort.
Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive, but this has been rolling around in my head for quite some time.
I think it could make an interesting blog post if accompanied by research.
Ohhhh, Chris! You had to throw in that last one!
Methinks (sometimes, I steal from Shakespeare 😉 ) there’s another blog post!
Is anyone ‘up’ for helping with the research?
Join the Conversation
It all began with Margie G. and her question about meeting reminders.
And now we have the perfect bookend: the art of following up.
Readers’ input made both of these posts shine, and I appreciate that.
As always, feel free to add to the discussion.
Here are three ideas, or bring your own:
• What is your regular follow-up with clients?
• Do you have a funny “Ouch! That backfired!” follow-up story?
• What is the most memorable “Thank you” you’ve received?
Please share this post, subscribe so you won’t miss other offerings, and join the conversation in the comments section.
Let’s all learn from one another
Thank you for stopping by!
I hope you check out the ‘sister’ post,’ A fresh look @ meeting reminders. Thanks again to the readers who volunteered their useful info.
Let me know how I can help with your next writing project.
Feel free to e-mail me and start the conversation: Kathie@KathieYork.com
I hope to talk with you soon,