There’s real power in sending a handwritten note to a customer: a card to thank a customer for subscribing, to celebrate with a customer for completing her first project with you, and so forth. Most powerful are notes sent to customers at emotionally charged junctures: follow-ups sent to ease the aftermath of a difficult conversation, congratulations sent to celebrate good news, or expressions of sympathy in response to sad news a customer has shared with you.
The realities of the entrepreneurial experience, however, are such that I need to give you a warning here, drawn from the annals of past business mishaps. Handwritten note campaigns are great…at first. But inevitably, one of two unfortunate developments will crop up: 1) writing the notes becomes such a chore, such a slog that your notes start to lack in spirit– a development that will drain employees’ morale and, eventually, be evident to customers as well. Or2) the writing of notes gets dropped from your company’s routines entirely because it just takes too darn much time, especially when things are good and you’d rather spend your time catching low-hanging fruit than deepening customer relationships through correspondence.
Either way, a solution to consider is this: find a way to systematize and streamline the act of spontaneous note-sending—not to make it less spontaneous, but to make spontaneity require less effort. I saw this in action recently in Kansas City, and it was impressive. The contact center of the local utility, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), recently partnered with Hallmark Business Connections in a pilot project that does just this: It provides customer service representatives with a streamlined, technologically enabled approach to expressing personal sentiments to customers.