Real-Issues-Real-Answers-Saying-ThanksThere’s a very good reason that one of our earliest lessons is to say thank you: appreciation is a powerful force. Indeed, philosopher William James once said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” What does this have to do with you and your business? It’s been estimated that it costs between four and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Clearly, there’s an economic benefit to making sure our customers feel appreciated. The question is how seriously we take this task. This month, more than 150 readers weighed in to share the details of their company’s customer appreciation efforts.

This months question came from an LBM dealer in the upper Midwest, who wrote: “How do other businesses thank someone who just spent $200,000 on a materials package for their house? We have settled on a face-to-face meeting, a handshake with a genuine thank you and a follow-up card. We have tried the wine basket and tin of nuts, but these seem cheesy. What are others doing?”

We sent out this question to readers who’ve opted in to receive our email communications. A big thank you to the 150-plus readers who took the time to share their insights. If you’d like to receive future surveys, feel free to email me at, and I’ll make sure we add your name to the list.

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Which one of the following best describes your business?

First, to understand the makeup of the respondents, we asked “Which of the following best describes your business?” As you can see from the chart, just short of 60% identify as full-line lumberyards, with about 24% as specialty dealer/distributors (i.e., roofing & siding, windows & doors, etc.), and the balance as other industry pros.


Does your company have a procedure or policy in place to thank customers for their business?

Next, we wanted to learn how many companies handle customer appreciation, so we asked: “Does your company have a procedure or policy in place to thank customers for their business?” As the chart at right shows, its pretty evenly split between the yesses and the nos. But as the verbatim answers to the following question make clear, just because a company doesn’t have a formal customer appreciation strategy doesn’t mean that they don’t say thanks.