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Client communication is important not only to acquire new clients, but also to retain current clients. Communicating with lost clients may even help win them back. The best client communication is personalized and genuine, and what better form of communication than a handwritten letter?
While client letters were more commonplace before computers turned most of our communications digital, they can be a great way to revamp your client communication and add a personal touch that many companies don’t utilize.
Countless benefits come along with writing client letters and several occasions where a handwritten letter would be appropriate. In this article, we’re sharing a few of both so you can start incorporating this practice into your business communications strategy.
Wondering if you should send a client letter rather than an email? Here are a few reasons why writing handwritten letters might be the best option for your business:
The average American only received about one piece of personal mail (not bills, ads, or flyers) every seven weeks back in 2011, and that number has likely gone down even more since then with email taking over most corporate communications. Over 90% of Americans feel a positive reaction when they receive a personal letter or card, so it’s a great opportunity to make someone feel good while contributing to their personal mail received each year.
Over 90% of Americans feel a positive reaction when they receive a personal letter or card.
Everyone’s email inbox is constantly full – full of sales notifications, empty cart reminders, Zoom call invitations, and so much more. Sending them another corporate email isn’t going to capture their attention the way you might want it to.
The average open rate for marketing emails is as low as 23.7%, but handwritten envelopes get opened 99% of the time. If you want your message to be received by the recipient, sending a handwritten envelope and letter is the way to go.
Emails are easy to create and even easier to automate these days. Most people know that a marketing email in their inbox is one of several hundreds, thousands, or even millions of emails sent out by the company. Nothing about them makes the recipient feel special – not even the perfunctory personalizations like including their first name in the subject line.
To make an email stand out, you have to put a lot of time and energy into it, but to make a letter stand out, all you need to do is send one and it will be noticed.
No one prints out emails to re-read and hold onto for years to come. But many people have a box somewhere in their house filled with letters and cards they’ve received over the years to bring back fond memories.
If you want to make a meaningful impression on your customer, sending them a handwritten note is a great way to send a message that lasts. Think of them as more than just a form of client communication – they’re also a physical gift that can be kept on a desk, refrigerator, or stored for safekeeping.
A hand-written note is inherently personal – you can tell if something was printed to look like real handwriting and when it’s actually been written by a human.
When someone can see ink smudges or small bends in the paper, it reinforces the fact that it was sent by one human to another, forging a personal connection between two people who may not have ever met. It shows you care and goes a long way to forging a personal connection with that customer.
A study from Kent State proves that writing is good for the soul – it makes you happier. Writing gratitude letters, in particular, showed greater satisfaction in life and happiness along with a decrease in depression symptoms.
If none of the above reasons were enough to convince you to write a letter, perhaps the selfish benefits of boosted happiness might compel you to give it a try the next time you need to communicate a meaningful message to your customers.
It’s clear to see that writing a letter to your client is a good move all around. Not only will it add to the personal mail they receive each year and forge a personal connection with often disconnected clients, but it can also make the writer feel happier and more fulfilled.
So, when is the right time to send a client letter? There are several occasions when you might consider writing a letter over making a phone call or sending an email. Here are some of the most typical occasions in business-to-client communications.
One great time to send a customer letter is when you’re offering a new sales incentive. Your incentive might be a rebate, a coupon, a limited-time deal, or a personal discount. Sales incentives might be offered to new customers, long-term customers, or perhaps even customers who haven’t bought your products or services in a while.
For example, a small hair salon might choose to send sales incentives for a free cut with their next coloring appointment for customers that haven’t been back in over a year.
Another example would be an auto shop sending past customers a coupon for a free oil change and tire rotation with any diagnostic evaluation to urge them to bring their car back in with a sweet deal.
Usually, sales incentives are activated for existing products or services rather than for new ones, which might be better introduced through another format.
If you’ve recently acquired a new client and you intend on keeping them, a handwritten letter is an excellent way to create a stronger bond with the customer and keep them coming back as a loyal returning customer.
The letter can be short, simple, and sweet – a brief hello followed by a sentence of gratitude for their business and a line referring to the future business relationship you hope to have with them for years to come. A simple gesture like this can go a long way.
Another relationship you might want to strengthen is a long-term customer. While they’ve been loyal in the past, you don’t want them to think you take their business for granted. Sending them a personal shout-out through handwritten snail mail is a great way to show them you are thankful for their business and you haven’t forgotten about them over the years.
It can reinforce the current relationship you have and instill a stronger sense of brand loyalty in them, which may even result in referrals to their friends and family, sending you more customers and ultimately boosting your business.
While this isn’t as pleasant an occasion as a sales incentive or a new customer relationship, acknowledging a complaint is an important business responsibility to manage reputation and repair damaged customer experiences.
When customers are upset or angry, it usually has more to do with the way a business responded to their issue than the issue itself.
Think about it – a family who got an undercooked hamburger at their local burger joint would probably be more upset if the server and manager both claimed that was how it was ordered rather than simply apologizing, bringing out a burger that is properly cooked, and taking the burger off their check entirely.
If you’ve been dealing with a negative customer interaction, sending a handwritten note is an incredible way to rectify the situation. Not only does it show that you care about solving the problem more than your company’s ego, but it also shows that a great deal of effort was put in to make it right.
Most CEOs won’t take the time to pull out a card and pen and write a note to an angry customer, but if they did, they might see very different customer reactions to their crisis communication strategy.
There’s nothing worse to a company than losing a customer they once had. Retaining customers is much more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, so each time a current customer is lost, it will cost that company five times more to replace them than it would have to keep them on board.
If you’ve lost a customer but don’t want to call it quits quite yet, take one last stab at keeping them by sending them a handwritten letter from the heart that shows you care and truly value their business.
Seeing how much time and effort your company put in might make them change their mind, and it doesn’t cost you much to send a letter, so you might as well give it a go.
While sitting down with a pen and paper to draft a client letter might seem like a waste of time in your busy workday, it’s a tactic that can pay off dividends in the long run if you can put the effort in now.
Personal letters make both the sender and receiver feel good, build a strong personal relationship between the two parties, and can bring in new business just as much as they can help you retain current business or save previously lost business.
The next time you’re facing the task of sending an important client communication message, consider using a handwritten letter instead of an email. It’s worth it.
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