There is a lot of power in a handwritten, personal note. This isn't just about a thank you note to a customer, although those are important as well. This is also about the note of appreciation to someone who has done a great job or hit their goals. You get the idea. Anything you might want to congratulate them on.
Ted Janusz is one of our amazing trainers at Shepard Presentations. He was conducting a half-day customer service workshop, and during a break, the client, who happened to be the president of the company, walked up to Ted and congratulated him on doing a great job. He mentioned how impressed he was that Ted had done his homework to truly learn about the company, their issues and their objectives. Of course, Ted was flattered and very appreciative of the kind words.
Two hours later, when the program was finished, the president of the company wrapped up the day, again congratulating Ted on job well done. But there was more.
As Ted was leaving the president handed Ted an envelope. No, it wasn't the check for the presentation. It was a personal handwritten note, again expressing his appreciation for a job well done and the obvious work that he put into personalizing it for his company. Ted couldn't wait to share it with us. He was so proud of the note, and who wouldn't be?
When was the last time you received an accolade from your boss, a colleague at work, or even a customer? How did it make you feel? Some people who get notes from people they work with save them, because they are special. They have impact.
Years ago, I wrote about my client and friend, Glenn Brown, who at the time was CEO of Contract Freighters, Inc. (CFI), a trucking company. He had a stack of cards and was using them to write notes to employees who deserved accolades or had a birthday or anniversary. He mentioned to me that he tries to write a short note to his employees who don't get to see him at the office at least twice a year. He said, "It lets them know I appreciate them, even though we never see each other." Many of CFI's employees are truck drivers that seldom, if ever, make it into the office. Glenn knew how to make them feel good about working at CFI.
Sure, there are other ways to show appreciation. Verbal praise, an email, a small gift, an appreciation lunch for employees and more. All of those are great signs of appreciation, and I'm not suggesting giving up any of those. However, after seeing how much Ted appreciated the note from our client, which made me think back to Glenn Brown, I believe the handwritten note takes a gesture of appreciation to the next level.