A recent unexpected experience in customer service made me think about the power of a “thank you.” We purchased a slightly used car from CarMax.  We had an 11-year-old car with more than 150,000 miles on it that needed to go.  She found a car she liked and traded in the old car.

When we returned home after buying the car we both remarked about how pleasant the buying experience was.  The traditional back and forth between salesperson and sales manager was gone.  We had checked online so we knew the price being asked for the car was reasonable.  The value we received on the trade-in was okay given the rather poor condition of the car (no major wrecks but driven at points of its life by two different teenagers).  As I have thought more about that buying experience one thing stands out that made it especially positive.  We interacted with three different people, the salesman, the person who valued the used car, and the person who handled all the paperwork.  In each case, they all said “thank you” for our business and they did so in a way that seemed sincere.

In many situations, I find that people reflexively say thank you at the end of a transaction.  Most of the time, I do not pay attention to it because it does not seem genuine.  In the case noted above, the thank you’s seemed genuine.  I can also recall a clerk at a small specialty grocery store.  Inevitably, she says thank and it comes across as genuine.  I notice it.  This is a part of the reason I keep returning to this store.  She and others at the store seem to genuinely appreciate my business.

I believe the underlying power to a sincere thank you is you are showing respect for a customer, a subordinate, a peer, or a boss.  A quote from a recent Harvard Business Review blog puts it succinctly; “Acknowledging other people is a critical responsibility — perhaps the critical responsibility — of a great manager, especially in sales. Actually great manager is too high a bar. I might say it’s the critical skill of a good manager but even that’s understating it.” (http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/11/do-you-really-need-to-say-than/)

For those readers of this blog and previous blogs, I say a very genuine “Thank You.”   I have a request.  Let me know what impact a genuine thank you has on your view of a provider.


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