Saying Thank You. A Lost Art?



A “personal thank you” is still a sure way to make a positive and significant difference with a co-worker, consumer, business associate or friend.

Any of us who receives a sincere “thank you” knows and appreciates what it means. Hearing it is special because it’s a way of making one feel valued. We benefit from “saying” it as much as the one receiving it.

Many use email, texts or tweets to give thanks. But, does being thanked with a click somehow devalue the personal art of saying “thank you?” It’s similar to a robo call or computerized voice, which is not a satisfying human response.

Customer service today is vital. Our customers have found ways to thank or castigate us instantly online through social media. The old fashioned era where every business owner knew every customer is gone. How do we respond to this? We now can instantly respond via the same instant digital methods.

However, at every opportunity we still need to make the effort to quickly go the extra mile with a personal call, written message or face to face discussion.

How do the experts suggest we say thank you? My good friend Bob Dilenschneider, author of the “Little Red Book” series, offers the following.

• Smile and make eye contact. 
• Don’t overdo your “thank you.” Be grateful, pleasant and brief.
• Another way to be sincere besides saying thank you, is simply saying “we appreciate your business.”
• Write a thank you note. It’s personal and special.
• Do it yourself. Don’t delegate.

As simple as it may sound, it is all too often forgotten. I work to put these tips in practice, and when I do, they take me a long way. What are some of the best ways you say “thank you?” Share your thoughts below. 

Terry Hemeyer serves as Executive Counsel at Pierpont, is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin College of Communication and teaches crisis management in the Rice University Jones School MBA program.