Business Writing

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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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October 08, 2013

Comments

Jennifer

I've gotten a thank you note from a server in a high end steak house. It was at the height of (in the depths of?) the recession. I still remember it.

You've covered this before but I will say again, in the wake of a death written condolences are extremely meaningful. Receiving a note from my vet with a paw print of my recently deceased cat and a personalized message was extremely meaningful.

Another communication that comes to mind (from high school!) is a clip out of the paper sent to me from my insurance agent. He had seen a picture and write up of my accomplishment and sent it on. I was thrilled to get it.

All thanks with very small gifts (a $5 card for coffee or something like) for a client referral are welcome. My main coffee cup at work is a large thank you mug from my dentist (with his name, web address and number) received after friend went in upon my recommendation. I love it because it is so big I don't have to go refill it all the time and it it has something hot in it, my knuckles don't get burnt using the handle. I think kindly of the office every day as I use it. It was thoughtful and well designed.

I think you do have to be a little careful with this one to avoid coming off as stalkerish. I am referring to the stories of a retailer sending a coupon for diapers to a household after a pregnancy test was purchased using a loyalty card. Such leaps can be hurtful and drive business away.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Jennifer, thank you for the wonderful, rich comment! You shared great examples of how reaching out to customers can store happy thoughts in their minds.

I was not sure from your comment whether your cat had passed away recently. (I believe "recent" may have been relevant only to the example you were sharing.) In any case, please accept my condolences on losing your beloved pet.

I always appreciate hearing from you.

Lynn

George Raymond

I send and thus receive very few birthday wishes, but I do get a handwritten card every year from my optician. My collection of eyeglasses from him continues to slowly grow.

Marcia Yudkin

Just to let you know that birthday wishes from businesses are not universally appreciated. I rarely give out my birthday to businesses because this is a key piece of information that can lead to identity theft. (If someone has your birthday and your Social Security number, or in some cases just your name, birthday and your zipcode, they can do serious identity-theft damage.) And if a company that did have my actual birthday for some reason and used it to send me a birthday card, I would consider it a misuse of the information.
that I trusted them with.

I realize this may make me sound like a bad-tempered Scrooge, but anyone reading Lynn's post who decided to adopt a birthday-greetings policy at their company should understand that it might have some unintended consequences from people who value their privacy. In some industries (healthcare, financial services) it might even be against the law.

Jackie

I have sent a lot of thank you notes in my life time. I remember after having attended a dinner party in a home I sent a thank you note. The person who receive it thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. She said she had never thought about sending thank you notes to events she had attended.

Mary

Years ago my mother received a lovely thank-you note from a friend she had invited to my wedding. The friend thanked my parents for including her in such a special event and congratulated my parents on acquiring a fine young man as a son-in-law. My mother said she had never heard of anyone sending a note like that, but she paid it forward many, many times and told others to do so as well. Thank you notes are always in good taste.

Stacey

Marcia, your response is enlightening. The company I work for sells greeting cards to businesses, so it's nice to hear the both sides of the story.

Lynn, what amuses me about your post is that I cannot recall the last time I received a birthday card from a company I do business with, yet all three of my cats get separate birthday emails from the vet, plus a Christmas card!

The most personalized greeting card I receive (holiday cards aside) is my employment anniversary card from the company's owners each year. Rather than just handing it to me at my desk, they mail it so I have a pleasant little surprise waiting for me at home.

Jennifer

Stacey's comments remind me of a particularly clever bit of business communication. The kennel where my parents board their dogs takes a picture of each dog boarded during the year in a holiday scene. We all laughed and laughed the first year we saw the holiday card my parents received that included a picture of snow men with the dogs' faces poking through. Very personalized and soemthing that would be appreciated by most pet lovers.

And, Lynn, my unclear use of the word "recently" did mean, my beloved cat of 15 years died recently (this summer.) Thank you for your condolences. We never have long enough with those we love, regardless of if they were born with fur or skin.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thank you for stopping by with a comment, George, Marcia, Jackie, Mary, Stacey, and Jennifer.

George, I love envisioning your collection of glasses.

Marcia, thanks for expressing the other side of the story. I would be surprised if sending birthday greetings were against the law for an industry. I received a card from my chiropractor on a milestone birthday. Since he hadn't sent one before, I believe he may just send them for special years. My previous dentist also sent a card, although his doing so did not make me stay with him when I was not happy with his dental practice.

Jackie, great example. I bet the woman who received your card began sending them herself.

Mary, thanks for your example of another happy story involving a thank-you.

Stacey, I like the surprise anniversary greeting from your employer waiting for you at home.

Jennifer, your funny example reminded me of something our previous vet used to do for our previous dog: He would send a reminder card that Chica was due for a treatment, and a face shot of her appeared on the postcard. We always enjoyed seeing our pet on the card. Again, please accept my sympathy on the recent passing of your beloved cat.

Lynn


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