How to Improve Customer Retention With Handwritten Notes

Studies show that it is six times more expensive to attract a new customer than retain an existing one. That’s why investing time and effort into maintaining your existing client base is so important. Sending handwritten notes is an easy way to boost your client retention levels. It helps you connect with your customers in a personal way that makes them feel special. Follow these best practices to improve customer retention with handwritten notes.

Make Notes Personal

Handwritten notes are always more personal than emails and typed letters. Handwriting has more personality than a uniform block of text. However, you can lose that personality if your handwritten notes all say the same thing.

When customers read your handwritten notes they should feel like they’re reading something made just for them. Personalization starts with your greeting. Address your customers using their names, rather than using a generic greeting like “Dear customer” or “Dear Sir/Madam.”

Wherever possible, add personalized details to the body of your notes too. Mention how long your customers have used your business, their recent purchases, and other outstanding features of your business relationship. This will let your customers know you understand who they are and how they use your business. They’ll know they’re more than a number to you.

Modern shoppers demand a personalized shopping experience. Seven percent of shoppers say they feel frustrated when their shopping experience isn’t personalized. On the flip side, 44 percent of shoppers say they’ll probably shop with a business that personalizes their shopping experience.

Make Long-Term Customers Feel Special

Many companies spend a lot of time and energy trying to retain the business of new customers. However, you shouldn’t overlook your long-term customers. The shoppers who’ve been with you for many years are the ones most likely to be with you years from now. Sending handwritten notes that mention their history with your company shows you don’t take their loyalty for granted.

In the contemporary world, consumers have more choices than ever before. If they’re not satisfied with your company, they won’t continue using your products and services simply because they have before. They’ll look for a better alternative. “Customers are no longer loyal to a brand,” declares Tamara McCleary, the chief executive officer of social media marketing agency Thulium. “Rather, they’re loyal to a relationship to a brand.”

We expect impersonal emails and typed form letters from businesses. We associate handwritten notes with our family and friends — the people who know us best, the individuals we have relationships with. When your business sends handwritten notes to your loyal customers, you position yourself not as a company but as a friend. The human touch behind handwritten notes will deepen your relationship with your loyal customers. This deeper relationship, in turn, inspires continued loyalty and boosts retention.

Thank Your Customers for Sales and Referrals

Sending a handwritten thank-you note when your customers make a transaction lets them know how much their support means. It also gives you the opportunity to ask for their feedback on your products or services. This feedback will help you improve your business offerings and also learn what works. When you ask for feedback, you’re telling your customers their opinions matter to you. Everyone likes to feel like what they have to say is valued. When customers feel valued, they’re more likely to use your business again.

Satisfied customers often want to share their positive experiences with their friends and family. When customers refer their loved ones to your business, they’re trusting you to deliver. Sending a handwritten note is a wonderful way to thank your loyal customers for the trust they’ve placed in you. Send a note to every referral in return. Let your best customers know how important their faith is to you.

Celebrate Big Moments

Birthdays and festive seasons are also great times to connect with your customers. Sending a handwritten note adds sincerity that inspires loyalty. Your handwritten note will also put your business at the top of your customers’ minds, encouraging them to consider using your products or services again.

Wedding anniversaries and other annual milestones are often celebrated. A business anniversary is no different. Send a handwritten note once a year on the date customers first purchased from you to mark this occasion. You might also include a gift voucher or promotional shopping code as an anniversary gift. Make sure you only send these anniversary notes to regular shoppers though. Lapsed or occasional shoppers aren’t likely to feel a strong connection with your business. Your anniversary card might seem forced and disingenuous to these customers.


Apologize When You Make Mistakes

Not all handwritten notes should come in positive times. The moments when you make mistakes are also prime opportunities for sending handwritten cards. An apology should always feel personal. A handwritten card has a human touch and sincerity that emails and typed letters can’t convey. It’ll make a more lasting impact than an apologetic phone call.

Send handwritten notes after receiving negative feedback or witnessing problems occurring in-store or online. Perhaps there was a problem with your service, a mistake with a shipped order, or a fault in your product. Whatever the reason, a handwritten note can turn your customer’s opinion around and retain business. Keep your tone sincere. This is not the time for making jokes, as they can easily be misconstrued. Where appropriate, consider adding a gift card or promotional card to make up for your error.

Follow Up With Lapsed Customers

Don’t let lapsed customers fall off your radar. A handwritten note could be the prompt they need to purchase your products or services again.

Explain that you’ve noticed the past customer hasn’t shopped with you for a while and comment that you’ve missed them. This will make your customers feel valued and important. You could then close your note with a comment that you hope they’re doing well and you’ll see them again soon. You could even sweeten the deal with a gift voucher or shopping promotional code.

Along with making your past customers feel important, these notes will put your company at the forefront of their minds. This could be the push they need to shop with you again.

Send Handwritten Notes “Just Because”

One of the best benefits of handwritten notes is that they’re unexpected. People don’t regularly receive mail anymore, let alone handwritten mail. You can take this concept even further by sending handwritten notes expressing your appreciation for your customers “just because.” Customers don’t expect to hear from you if they haven’t recently interacted with you. That element of surprise will make your customers feel even more special and valued — and thus more likely to shop with you.

While these “just because” cards might seem like they arrive at random times, you should think carefully about when you send them and who receives them. These cards should be reserved for your best customers. These are the people who are most likely to be brand advocates and tell others about your note. It will seem disingenuous to claim you’ve been thinking about customers that only shop with you now and again.

Send these cards when you haven’t been in contact for a while. Handwritten notes don’t seem as special if people receive them too often. A handwritten note that comes out of the blue is much more impactful.

Resist the Hard Sell

Handwritten notes are an effective marketing tool because they cut through the communication clutter of the digital world. They increase goodwill towards your organization. However, handwritten notes are one type of marketing that doesn’t require a hard sell.

Resist the impulse to hype up your products or services in your note. Don’t include business cards. Gift vouchers and promotional codes can be appropriate, but they should seem like genuine gifts rather than tools for generating sales. Sending handwritten notes tells your customers you care about them. Marketing too hard will dilute this message and make it seem like you care more about generating sales. This will turn customers off and decrease your chances of customer retention.

Aim for Accuracy, but Don’t Stress About Style


Many business owners feel nervous about how their handwritten notes will look. They appreciate the uniformity of typed correspondence and stress about getting handwritten notes wrong. However, typed text looks cold and impersonal. The imperfections in handwriting are charming. Handwriting adds a personal touch, which forges the connection that builds customer loyalty and boosts retention.

Don’t stress too much about your handwriting. Most customers will be so impressed you took the time to write to them that they won’t critique your penmanship. Your writing really only needs to be legible. If you’re a messy writer, take your time to neaten things up. You might also switch to writing in print (not cursive) if that looks better. If you’re still unsatisfied, use a handwritten note service like Handwrytten. You can choose from many different handwriting styles. The Handwrytten robots will then write out the message with a pen and real ink. The notes look just like they’ve been created by hand. This service is a great option for business owners who are self-conscious about their handwriting.

Spelling & Grammar

While penmanship doesn’t matter too much, errors in spelling and grammar do. These mistakes will make you seem unprofessional and uneducated. They can also undermine your aim of showing you care by making your note seem rushed.

Remember that when you’re writing by hand, you don’t have the benefit of a delete key or spell-checker. Think carefully about what you’re writing, take your time, and use a dictionary if you’re unsure of spelling. You might find it helpful to write your message out first, then transcribe it onto your finished note. If you frequently make mistakes, a service like Handwrytten, which lets you type then edit your note, is very helpful.

Remember that when you’re writing by hand, you don’t have the benefit of a delete key or spell-checker.

Get Your Tone Right

Business correspondence usually has a formal, no-nonsense tone. A formal tone suits communication with your colleagues, suppliers, and other business contacts, but not always for communicating with your customers. Handwritten notes look like they have a human touch. That humanity should also shine through in the message.

A good corporate handwritten note should feel like it’s come from a real person rather than a business. Whether you’re apologizing for messing up, expressing your gratitude, or simply touching base with customers, keep the tone conversational. Take off your professional hat and imagine you’re writing the note to a friend. Think about the words you’re using and how you’re phrasing your ideas. Would you normally speak this way if you were having a conversation? Change long, complicated words and phrases to simpler ones. Don’t be afraid of colloquialisms; these casual terms can make you seem more human.

Keep It Short and Sweet

You don’t need to write an essay. A concise note that gets to the point will have the maximum impact. Three to five sentences is the sweet spot that should impress your customers and encourage them to stay loyal. Any longer and your message will become diluted. If your note is super short, you may appear curt and abrasive.

Automate the Process

Sending so many handwritten notes may seem overwhelming, but Handwrytten makes it easy. This innovative service sends notes featuring high-tech writing that is virtually indistinguishable from real handwriting. Handwrytten integrates with popular business management systems, including Salesforce, Zapier, and Amazon Sellers Central.

Simply link your accounts and establish triggers for composing notes. For example, when someone purchases a product, refers a new customer, or lodges a complaint, the Handwrytten system can automatically send a personalized, handwritten note for you. Handwrytten works well for large and growing businesses that don’t have the time to write their own handwritten notes.

A handwritten note can be a thoughtful way of corresponding with your customers, but some notes are more effective than others. Follow these rules for effective handwritten note creation and distribution to maximize your client retention figures.

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