The Letter

Today’s TunesDay post is about the lost art of letter writing. I’ll explain why in a second but the song that came to mind immediately is The Box Tops‘ song “The Letter.” Of course, I much prefer the version from the Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour performed by the inimitable (unless you’re John Belushi) Joe Cocker:

I’m a little unhappy with the video since it’s had a chunk of the song edited out but have you ever seen such joy among both audience and performers?  Anyway, back to the subject at hand – letters.  When was the last time you wrote one or received one?  For me the answer is yesterday.  After my post on the fantastic customer service experience I got from the Design A Shirt folks I received a handwritten note from someone there.  Apparently one of you passed the post on to them and she was just writing to express her appreciation.  There’s a great business – and personal point in that.

It wasn’t an email.  She had taken the time to write – by hand – a heartfelt note.  Short, to the point, and very meaningful. While I was trying to thank them in a very public way (and make a business point), she felt compelled to thank me for doing so.  That action – repaying someone’s gift or kindness with a personal expression of thanks – is something we’ve tried to teach our kids and I know from the notes I get from nieces and others that some other folks try to do the same.  Why don’t we do it more often in business?

Maybe we ought to recruit people with beautiful handwriting to act as a Chief Gratitude Officer, responsible for sending out expressions of thanks to customers.  Many businesses send emails but I can’t ever recall a personal, handwritten note.  It’s funny – many of my friends (and I) have mediocre handwriting even though we had to endure penmanship classes in school.   My handwriting is fine if I take my time but who does?  Who can?  My folks both have beautiful handwriting.  My kids’ generation – less so.  Yet another thing that technology is killing off?

We don’t say thank you often enough in business.  It’s an opportunity for us all.  Because it’s so rare, the effect of doing so is incredible.  How are you going to make that a regular part of your business life?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

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