Your parents might have taught you about the value of a well-written thank you note when you were younger. Mine did.
After every holiday or birthday when I received gifts, my mom made me diligently write out and mail thank you notes the next business day.
Even if you thank them in the moment, she explained, an additional note expressing thanks shows people how much you care and appreciate their time and generosity.
This same logic should be adopted for thanking your customers. They spend time and resources supporting your business, and they deserve a thoughtful acknowledgment of how much they mean to your business.
In this blog post, we'll teach you how to show appreciation by sending a customer thank you letter that will be sure to delight them -- and make my mom proud.
How to Write a Thank You Letter
- Determine the best communication medium.
- Use the correct greeting.
- Express thanks and appreciation.
- Include specific details.
- Look toward the future.
- Say thank you again.
- Use an appropriate closing.
- Sign your thank you letter.
1. Determine the best communication medium.
Before you even begin to write your thank you letter you should consider the best medium to use for the occasion. As a rule of thumb, handwritten notes are always more effective than emails or text messages. That's because these notes take time to write, which demonstrates sincerity and appreciation on your end.
However, if you're running a busy company you may not have time to write every thank you note by hand. In this case, it's more efficient to use email automation tools to thank your customers for their business. This way, you can save handwritten notes for instances that require above-and-beyond customer service.
2. Use the correct greeting.
Start your letter off on the right foot with a correct and appropriate greeting.
If you know the recipient, start your letter with "Hi ..." or "Dear ..."
If you've never met the recipient, start your letter with "Dear ..."
Then, double and triple-check the correct spelling of the recipient's name.
If the letter is formal, address the recipient as "Mr." or "Ms.," followed by their last name.
If the letter is informal, refer to the recipient by their first name.
3. Express thanks and appreciation.
Next, thank the recipient for whatever they gave you, whether it was a gift, a donation, an interview, or being your customer, and express true gratitude. Say thank you, and state how much you appreciate what they gave you, and how it will help you.
For example, for a customer who re-purchased your subscription product, you would write the following:
"Thank you so much for re-subscribing and purchasing [Product] again. Support from long-time customers like you helps our business grow and evolve thanks to your helpful feedback."
4. Include specific details.
Share specific details about the gift, such as how you'll use it, or why you needed it, to make the recipient feel like whatever they've given you was useful and valuable.
For example, if a customer submitted a feedback survey, you could include details like the following:
"Thanks for completing the survey about your experience using [Product]! Your feedback helps us improve our offerings and help troubleshoot for you and other customers, so I really appreciate you taking the time. You make a good point about it being too difficult to find cancellation information on our website, and I've passed that feedback along to our web design team to suggest making it more readily available."
5. Look toward the future.
Wrap up your thank you letter by looking toward the future with the recipient. Whether the recipient is a family member, friend, or customer, close your letter with an optimistic and positive thought about the future of your relationship.
For a customer, this could be something as simple as:
"If you have any additional feedback or questions about using [Product] in the future, please don't hesitate to contact me via phone or email."
For a family member or friend, you could say something like:
"I look forward to seeing you soon at Thanksgiving."
6. Say thank you again.
Close your letter with a final line, with something simple like:
"Thanks again for your [Gift/Support/Purchase/Feedback]."
7. Use an appropriate closing.
There are a lot of different closing salutations you can end your thank you letter with.
For friendly or familial relationships, use the friendly, informal closing that you're comfortable with, such as:
- "Talk soon ..."
- "See you soon ..."
- "Fondly ..."
- "Miss you ..."
- "Hugs ..."
For business relationships, close your email with "Best regards ..." or "Kind regards ..." (Read our full explanation of when to use which closing in this blog post.)
Other business-appropriate closings can include:
- "Respectfully ..."
- "Cheers ..."
- "Have a wonderful day/weekend ..."
- "Sincerely ..."
- "All the best ..."
8. Sign your thank you letter.
Once you've wrapped things up with a friendly sign-off, be sure to sign your work. If you have a long-standing relationship with the recipient, just use your first name. This creates a more casual tone that develops a closer relationship with your customers or peers.
If you're communicating with a new customer or an employer, add formality to your signature by including your last name. If you're hand-writing your letter, sign the document in cursive for a more professional aesthetic. These details make a big difference in determining the tone of your letter.
Whether you're writing a thank you letter for your mom, your friend, or your customer, via email or postal service, these tips will help your message land.
Now, let's take a look at the different elements that every thank you letter should include.
What to Include in a Thank You Letter
Thank you letters should be personalized every time you use them. However, there are some core components that should be included regardless of who and what you're thanking them for. Below are the four elements required for an excellent thank you letter.
1. Appropriate Greeting
Your letter should begin with an appropriate greeting. If you have a prior relationship with this person then this greeting should be warm and courteous. Use their first name to create an inviting, friendly tone that reinforces the bond you have developed with them.
If you're less familiar with this person, then your greeting should set a professional tone to the conversation. Address the recipient by their appropriate title and use an opening that appropriately fits your relationship with them.
For example, if it's an important stakeholder, your greeting may be, "Dear Mr. Fontanella." Or, if it's a new customer you could start with, "Hi Mr. Fontanella." Picking the right greeting ensures your thank you message is received with the intended context.
2. Expression of Gratitude
The next section should include a statement that outlines what you're grateful for. Use specific details to describe what the recipient did to warrant this note. Including specifics makes your message more sincere because it personalizes the content for the reader.
In this section, try to include the word, "you" as much as possible. This will make your message customer-centric because you're focusing on what the recipient did for you and your business.
3. Acknowledgment of the Future
Following the expression of gratitude, the next section should acknowledge your future relationship with the recipient. Whether it's a customer or a peer, this portion will let the person know that you intend to continue working with them over time. This is important for long-term relationship-building because it sets the expectation for future interactions.
4. Proper Closing
Finally, your thank you letter should conclude with an appropriate closing statement. Thank the recipient again, and offer them options for contacting you if needed. Then, conclude the message with your preferred sign-off, followed by your signature.
Next, read about how to write a customer thank you email, specifically.
How to Write a Customer Thank You Email
Here are a few best practices to writing a successful customer thank you letter, no matter what industry you're in.
1. Say something positive in the subject line.
If you're trying to get your valued customers to click on your email, make sure your subject line gives them a preview of what's awaiting them. Words like "thank you," "valued customer," "your loyalty," and "appreciated" are all good signals that the customer can expect a positive message from you.
2. Be judicious with what you promote.
A thank you letter should not be used as an opportunity to get your customers to spend more money. Full stop.
Nothing makes a letter from a company (masquerading as a thank you letter) seem more insincere than immediately asking the recipient to buy something else. There are plenty of other opportunities to share offers and new products with your customers -- and this is not one of them.
It's perfectly fine to send a customer thank you letter that's just that -- a thank you note. Other acceptable options could be including a link to a customer feedback survey, personalized educational content, or information about a loyalty program -- or anything else that doesn't require more money from them.
3. Write like a human.
If you're going to enter your customers' email inboxes, make sure the thank you letter is well-crafted, personalized, and sincere.
Our inboxes are already overflowing with automated email templates sent en masse from brands every day. Make sure your thank you email sounds as human as possible to communicate just how thankful you are for a customer's business and loyalty. As an added touch, address the email from a real person at your company -- ideally in leadership -- to further communicate authenticity.
4. For maximum impact, send it via snail mail.
This is a maneuver so advanced that I only have one such letter to share with you. Receiving genuine customer appreciation at your home or business address is a truly memorable way to demonstrate value, and if a gift or treat are included, all the better.
Now that you know how to write an effective customer thank you letter, here are a few examples of how real brands are doing it:
10 Examples of Thank You Letters to Clients for Their Business
Here's a thank you email I received from Loom -- a screen and video recording software my team at HubSpot uses quite frequently:
The heart emoji and personalization (along with the promise of a very short survey) made me click to read this email, and the hilarious union of both companies' logos was very human and funny.
Loom effectively communicated thanks, personalized the email, and didn't ask too much of me -- I was happy to answer a couple questions about a tool I use every week. They got valuable customer feedback, and I got a funny note I shared with the rest of my team.
Here's a thank you letter I received from skincare company BioClarity after referring a new customer:
Ecommerce brands love to send out emails about new products and offers, and what I appreciated about this thank you email was its simplicity. All BioClarity did was thank me for referring a new customer -- and let me know about the reward coming my way for doing so.
BioClarity's thank you letter wasn't pushy or sales-y -- it thanked me for my loyalty, told me about a prize, and the authentic writing style made me smile.
Here's a thank you letter I received a couple days after a trip on JetBlue:
You might already know that JetBlue has some of the best customer service of any airline out there, consistently going above and beyond for their customers. But sometimes, simplicity works too.
This letter thanked me for flying with JetBlue on a recent trip, and it showed me how to sign up for its customer loyalty program -- and how to get reward points for the flight I had already taken.
Frequent flyer programs help travelers book expensive flights at a discount -- so I really appreciated JetBlue pointing out how to get more value out of my future bookings with them. That's true customer appreciation -- sure, JetBlue wants me to book future trips with them, but they're also showing me how to get more bang for my buck with their loyalty program.
Here's an end-of-year thank you letter I received from cycling workout brand SoulCycle:
SoulCycle has built a brand about creating a sanctuary away from the rest of the world to exercise, and this thank you letter really drives that home. It's not pushing me to book another exercise class, but it is welcoming and encouraging me to show up and feel included -- and thanking me for being a part of its community.
This letter is sincere -- it's not trying to do anything or sell me anything, it's just about cultivating community and appreciation. Well done, SoulCycle.
Here's a thank you letter I received from my credit card company, Discover:
This is another great example of a short and sweet thank you letter that has no agenda other than saying thanks. By letting me know it won an award for customer satisfaction (and thanking me for being one of those happy customers), Discover makes it clear that they value customer feedback.
It's also worth noting how infamous credit card companies are for inundating customers with unsolicited credit card and loan offers -- which makes this offer-less email even more appreciated.
6. World Wildlife Fund
Here's a thank you letter I received from the World Wildlife Fund at the end of one year when I donated:
The letter led me to this thank-you video WWF produced, which showcased how my donation was used in action:
This is an effective way to thank customers, especially if they're donating to a cause -- by showing them where their money actually goes. (Plus, who can resist cute animals?)
A sincere thank you note paired with engaging content is another great way to go.
7. Ann Handley
After subscribing to her newsletter, marketing expert and author Ann Handley thanked me -- and asked me a question:
I didn't reply to this email when I initially received it (if you're reading this, sorry Ann). However, this email does a fantastic job of taking the thank you one step further by providing me with details about what I can expect -- and some awesome content right off the bat. Additionally, Ann made it clear that she valued her subscribers' feedback, and for those who did reply, she was able to tailor her next send based on the preferences she learned about.
8. Capital One
Here's the snail mail example of customer appreciation that I promised -- a thank you letter (and a pan flute) I received from Capital One:
Here's the necessary context: A few days after contacting my credit card company to let them know I'd be traveling to Peru, I received this pan flute in the mail -- along with a hand-written note from the customer support rep who helped me out that simply said, "Have a great trip to Peru! Thanks for being a valued Capital One customer."
This care package probably cost Capital One less than $10 in total, but I haven't stopped telling people about it since it happened more than a year ago. This thoughtful and personalized gift and thank you note were totally delightful and made me feel like the agent who helped me really cared.
9. UH Bikes
Here's a thank you letter that my colleague, Clint, received after downloading UH Bikes, a Cleveland-based bike sharing app.
This thank you letter is great because it answers everything new users would want to know after downloading the app. It explains how to rent a bike and provides answers to common questions you may have about the service.
This makes onboarding much easier for new customers, especially Clint, who was on vacation in Cleveland and was completely new to UH Bikes. He quickly signed up on the app, then used this handy email to rent a bike. Without these step by step instructions, it would have taken him much more time to reserve a bike.
After you sign up for the Service Blog's daily or weekly newsletter, you'll receive this thank you letter.
This thank you email follows all of the steps we listed above. It begins with a friendly greeting, expresses gratitude for your sign up, acknowledges the future relationship we'll have, then thanks you again before signing off. This email is a great example of a simple thank you letter that can be used for any new user who provides you with their email address.
To learn more about making your customers happy, read our ultimate guide to customer delight next.
Originally published Jul 23, 2019 3:46:00 PM, updated July 23 2019