A little appreciation goes a long way
You probably thank your clients in some way as a matter of course. It’s definitely the polite thing to do (my Mom told me that). But it’s more than that. Studies show that a simple thank-you has a significant impact in both social and business settings. In short, gratitude is a big motivator of behavior (wait, Mom told me that, too).
A few examples:
- A study in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology looked at the effect of a job applicant’s gratitude. Sixty-nine people were asked to help a fictional applicant with his cover letter. He thanked just half of them. Only 32 percent of those he didn’t thank helped him a second time, while 66 percent of those he did thank helped again.
- Restaurant customers who get a handwritten thank-you on their receipt leave bigger tips.
- The owner of a small jewelry store ran an experiment in which some customers got a phone call just to thank them. Another group got a call in which they were thanked and alerted to a sale, while a third group got no call. Business increased that year—with the thanks-only group accounting for 70 percent of the increase, and the second group accounting for 30 percent.
What might some extra thank-yous do in health care, for example? We’re not talking about a great deal of time or money here. How about a thank-you card in the mail after a new patient’s first visit? Or a postcard or email after that annual checkup: “Thanks for coming in!” Be sure to make the thank-you the sole purpose. Patients may well be more inclined to come back—which is good for the practice and for them.
By the way, true feelings of appreciation (and other positive emotions) can actually boost the immune system and increase heart-rhythm coherence, according to research at the Institute for Heart Math. Other benefits include fewer health complaints overall and protection against heart attacks. So when you do a little more to say thanks, you just might get healthier too.