Famous Last Words: Say Thank You!
When I was running this magazine, readers would call or write me for advice. One of the most irritating questions was: "What is the optimum number of times in a year to contact my customers?"
My answer: "When you have something to say and something to offer. Otherwise, leave them alone."
Readers of my e-zine, Business Common Sense (www.businesscommonsense.com; subscriptions are free, so sign up!), saw a letter from a disgruntled reader who wrote:
Every time I use my American Express Centurion Card I cannot help but notice the following words printed on the front, "MEMBER SINCE '82." So, during the whole of last year, every time I used the card a lightening thought crossed my mind, "Gosh, that's 25 years!" But did American Express remember this auspicious occasion? Unfortunately, no. Despite having the relevant data, there was no e-mail, no thank-you card, no offer, no invitation to spend more, no phone call. Nothing. That really made me feel that American Express doesn't give a damn about my custom and 25 years of brand loyalty.
I have been an American Express Cardmember since 1964 and remember well expecting a note thanking me for being a 40-year customer. It never arrived. An e-mail remembrance would have cost nothing beyond one hour of a programmer's time. A thank-you card in the mail might have run a buck or so-peanuts when a 40-year member might rack up $3,000 to $10,000 a month in charges ... or upward of $100,000 a year.
Saying Thank You
What triggered this column was an e-mail from long-time friend Chris Warsaw, who forwarded me the thank you from 1-800-Flowers shown on this page. Warsaw wrote:
Just got this, prox. 2.5 weeks after my order. Nothing dramatic or new about the idea, but still smart! Sure makes me want to order again! -Chris