You remember the handwritten note, those things your Mom fussed at you to finish after graduation.
They may seem an antiquated notion in the age of social media. But the thank-you note is an important tool, not only in marketing, but it communicating appreciation to your team members.
A healthcare consulting and coaching firm, the Pensacola, Fla.-based Studer group uses the note as part of its overall employee engagement blueprint. But messages thoughtfully crafted in the vanishing art of cursive can have an impact in any sector, including community banking.
Think about it: Say you are an officer at Main Street Bank & Trust and you’ve just helped Mrs. Johnson craft a trust account for her grandkids. A handwritten note will resonate with Mrs. Johnson, because for her generation, the thank-you note was not an option, but a requirement. A five-minute investment in time to write the note will make a lasting impression.
A note also sends a powerful message to young customers. They may grouse about “snail mail”, but a letter in the mailbox ignites excitement and sends a message of value.
Or what if a new team member goes “above and beyond” in serving a customer, completing a project or investing energy in a community service project? A thank-you note tells the newcomer that their good work is appreciated and it’s more powerful than a pat on the back.
On its LinkedIn page, the Studer Group expressed it this way in explaining why thank-you notes are “must haves” in its corporate culture.
“A personalized thank you note is one of the very best ways to validate for an employee that he or she is doing worthwhile work and making a difference. The note immediately connects the employee to purpose, which is important to us in healthcare.”
Bottom line: The note makes a difference, the should-be cornerstone of why we enter healthcare or financial services or any work.
A colleague tells the story of his wife, a nurse. After a particularly trying day, she came home to find a small, brightly colored envelope on top of the daily mail. It was a thank-you note from her supervisor, for a job well done.
The note wound up on the refrigerator, a place of honor for any family that celebrates accomplishments, placed near the third-grade masterpiece and the sterling report card. And the recipient shares news of the note with friends and family. It’s a great unexpected gift.
The Studer group points out that these notes “re-recruit” employees. And that’s right. It communicates value and builds a bond of trust between the employee and her supervisor.
The Studer Group recommends that leaders be assigned a given number of notes to write and those leaders should actually track those notes. Not only does this validate employees, but it nudges leaders who are often consumed with problem solving to look for the positives that happen every day.
And don’t forget: The thank-you note street runs two ways. Employees can also thank supervisors. The impact is the same, telling a teammate they matter.
This small tool builds comradery, a priceless quality for any business family. Customers notice, and want to be engaged in that environment.
Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s old school. But just as in earlier generations, it says “You matter to us.”
Let me know if you’re from the “old school”. I look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s another great article on “Old School Social Media”.