saying thanks? write it down!


So I was reading my blog subscriptions Thursday and I come across Chris Brogan’s blog. Chris is one of the founders of Podcamp and is one of the muckety-mucks (in a good way) within social media, oft quoted and referenced along with Christopher S. Penn, CC Chapman, Mitch Joel and some others. All nice guys (I’ve met them, they wouldn’t remember me except Mitch who noted he did remember, which was very kind but not necessary as I would still say he and they are good guys) and knowledgeable about social media.

So Chris goes to eat at PF Chang’s and encounters this unbelievable (in a good way) waitress. He wrote about it in his blog as a way of encouraging others to perform as well in their lives and recognize the efforts of others who help them.

I enjoyed the story but saw a bit of an omission in his praise. While it’s old school in this electronic age (and I epitomize the “old” in old school) I asked Chris in my blog comment if he had sent a letter to the head of PF Chang’s to promote his waitress’ truly impressive customer service. This is something I try and do often because I think it professionally boosts the service provider within his/her corporate culture.

Chris, it has always seemed to me, is a fairly honest guy about his world, his successes and his misses so I really wasn’t too surprised at his candor:

Peter, you’ve put me in a spot. My real answer is that I’m very lazy about real paper mail. And yet, you’re right. THAT would have more meaning than telling Andrea’s boss. Very interesting point.

I’m on it.

Now, I really wasn’t trying to put him in a spot but if it helps, OK then.

A verbal compliment should always be offered and an email is ok, but I do think it is the lazy way out.

Because so few people take the time to hand write notes or even type out letters of thanks or send clippings with a note, I think it really stands out in the eyes of the recipients.

Same for complaint letters although ultimately you’ll only get a form letter back from a company…AirTran (which is why I avoid like the plague flying that airline and tell everyone my horrible story so they’ll book somewhere else and often do but I’m not bitter even a year later…much).

If someone takes the time to really serve you, it just seems to me that you should take a minute to write down your thanks to someone who can make a difference in their life.

It occurs to me now that this is a lesson from my Mother, who passed away 21 years ago today; a memory that makes every surviving child 5 years old again, regardless of what the birth certificate says.

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5 Responses to “saying thanks? write it down!”

  1. So far, I’ve spoken to PF Changs headquarters, and copied down the HQ address, so I’m on track to doing the paper thing, too.

    Oh, and I wrote on her check. : )

  2. Chris,

    Very generous of you to take the time to shout her praises to her bosses.

    She’ll pleased and surprised from the reaction I think.

    Thanks for stopping by, you’re always welcome here.

    Best always,
    – Peter

  3. […] For a cogent and thoughtful discussion about how to really say “thank you” in a powerful way, take few minutes to read through my friend Peter O’Connell’s blog post Saying Thanks? Write It Down! […]

  4. Peter (and Chris),

    I’ve often said that what is missing in society lately is simple appreciation.

    As a wedding gift, my mother-in-law gave me a box of monogramed stationary. I love her gift, because it gives me a chance to send someone a very personal note, especially when I want to say, Thank You.

    I think this blog post is important, not just for those of us in the industry who send out ‘thank yous’ to our clients – but for everyone to sit and think about where they could send a simple card to brighten someone’s day and make them feel appreciated.

    Thank you!!

  5. Hi Heather,

    What a really nice wedding gift! And thank you for your kind words.

    Best always,
    – Peter

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