Taking the Time to Say Thanks

posted by Andrea | 08/10/2011

If you or anyone else in your family has recently had a birthday, you probably exchanged a few gifts and heard “thank-you” after each gift was un-wrapped.  {If not, you might want to work on that!}

Saying “thanks” is a pretty simple thing to do — however, it does take thought and effort on our part.

And even though it just make sense to say “thank-you” after receiving a gift, hearing a nice compliment, or after an act of kindness; there are still SO many other times when saying “thanks” could go a long way.

Here are a few recent examples from my own life:

1. Saying Thanks to a Helpful Employee at Lowe’s

A couple months ago, I was shopping for our bathroom sinks. I knew exactly what I wanted, but couldn’t find it in our price range. So after weeks of looking, I ended up at Lowe’s — and found EXACTLY what I wanted… plus it was on clearance! The only problem was, this Lowe’s had one sink left and I needed two.

Without even asking, the employee at Lowe’s started contacting other stores and found one that still had 2 left. It was an hour away, so he asked them about shipping — and after 30 minutes, I had paid for the sinks over the phone, given them my shipping address and was told the sinks should show up at my door step in the next 2 days!

The sinks arrived on schedule and that employee actually called me to make sure everything went as planned!! I was so shocked!

How I said THANKS:

I knew I wanted to do something for this employee so I called the Lowe’s store, explained the situation, and was forwarded to a “help line” where I could either complain about or praise a specific employee. Of course, I sang his praises, and it turns out that he got some type of award because of it! Woo-hoo!

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2. Saying Thanks to a Patient Cashier at Meijer

As many of you know, I’m kind of obsessed with using coupons, shopping the sales, and getting amazing deals on groceries. My frugal nature helps us keep our grocery bill around $25 per week — so it’s well worth my time.

And even though I’m always extremely organized with my coupons and have everything ready to go before I get to the checkout lane, there are still times when I can tell the cashier is getting annoyed. However, there are a couple of cashiers at the Meijer I shop at who ALWAYS patiently scan every coupon and never moan or complain. Often they even congratulate me on saving so much — so I try to use them every time I shop.

How I say THANKS:

About once a month {or whenever I remember} I stop at the service desk on my way out and just simply say that I received excellent service from the cashier on lane ___. I explain that I try to use them every time because of how efficient and patient they are.

That’s it — nothing fancy — but I know the word gets back to the cashier.  One time the manager just looked at me and said, “you mean you’re not going to complain about something?” {I guess they get lots of complaints!}

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3. Saying Thanks for Great Service at a New Restaurant

This situation actually happened about 6 years ago when I was still in college. Some friends of mine decided to try a new restaurant near our college campus and we were so thrilled with our choice. The food was excellent, the service was quick, and the prices were pretty cheap {yes, we were college students}.

How I said THANKS:

I was so pleased with our evening that I actually sent an email to the restaurant manager the next day, telling him how much we loved his restaurant and what a fun night we had. He was apparently extremely grateful for my email because he asked for our address so he could send us free meal coupons to go back!

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4. Saying Thanks for a Really Nice Nurse

Due to the fact that I have always been very healthy, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I remember going to the doctor in my life. For the last 6 years, I have gone every other year for a physical — but that’s about it. However, now that I’m pregnant, it’s apparently necessary to go every month!

I really wasn’t impressed with the first doctor’s office I visited and the nurse made me feel stupid — so I found another doctor’s office and loved it. I’ve been going there ever since and the nurses {and doctors} are all so extremely nice, understanding, accommodating, etc.

How I said THANKS:

I was so pleasantly surprised after my first visit that I just had to stop back at the front desk and share a word of thanks with the receptionist {who said she would pass my gratitude along to the nurse}. I’ve been back several times since and I swear, I am treated nicer with every visit!

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5. Saying Thanks for Great Customer Service

As a small business owner myself, I truly do value great customer service. I like it when people arrive on time, do the job they said they would do, and charge you what they said they would charge you. So last week, when we got our carpets cleaned by a local company, I was extremely pleased with the results and felt like I should thank them some how.

How I said THANKS:

Since my blog talks a fair amount about cleaning, I decided to mention the carpet cleaning company and what a great job they did in my blog post the next day. Well, apparently word got back to them, and the owner actually called me to thank me. He also offered to apply a stain-guard on our new white couch… for free!

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Now, obviously, I wasn’t saying “thanks” just to get free things or to make myself feel better {although both of those are nice perks!} — but I find it interesting that people are often so taken aback by a word of thanks verses a negative thought or complaint, that they go out of their way to give you even better service.

I guess it’s often a win-win situation.

A Few Ways You Can Say Thanks:

If you tried really hard, you could probably find a reason to thank every single person you run into each day… but since that’s not very realistic, here are a few simple ideas to get you thinking.

  • Put a thank-you card in the mailbox for your mail carrier — make sure it’s clearly labeled for him or her!
  • Greet your paper person with a smile and a big “thank-you”
  • Thank the musicians at church — seriously, you have NO idea how much work it is to prepare for just one service
  • Leave an extra generous tip along with a big “THANKS” on your receipt for a waitress who did a great job
  • Promote a favorite company or  product on facebook, twitter, or your blog {without any compensation}
  • Make a special treat for your child to bring to his/her teacher on the first day of school
  • Send a quick email, facebook message, or even paper letter to a friend — just because
  • Give your children a special surprise for doing their chores without asking — or for any other reason
  • Plan a fun night out with your spouse after getting through a stressful project or time at work
  • Surprise your favorite babysitter with a paid day off or a gift card to her favorite store
  • Send an email out to all your friends and family referring them to a specific company’s service or a great local restaurant {I had a client do this for me recently — what a treat!}
  • Bring donuts or a special homemade treat into the office during a busy or stressful week

Each of these ideas takes only a minute or two at the most, and many of them won’t cost you a cent. So even those of us who pack our days completely full can still take a moment to say thanks {ahem, I’m talking to myself here too!}

How Can You Say Thanks?

Do you make a habit of saying “thank-you” to random people throughout the day? If not, then the next time you’re out and about, find one person who you think deserves a thank-you… and give it to them.

It will only take you a minute!

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10 comments

  1. Kim H

    08/10/2011

    Love this post! I love sending handwritten letters and cards and lately have been emailing and calling various customers about great customer service. Along the lines of your Meijer anecdote, I believe more people take the time to complain than to praise, and a little praise goes along way. You’ve inspired me to be even more thankful! :)

    [Reply]

  2. Tammy

    08/10/2011

    I love these ideas, I have done lots of things like this over the years and it is fun to me! I love that you mentioned thanking those who prepare the music for church, I have been on those teams and it IS work! Just because God has gifted someone in that area and they enjoy it, does not mean it’s always easy.

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  3. Cassie

    08/10/2011

    I love this post. These are such great ideas and i’m going to try to do more of them then the same “thank you” all the time. (even though I will still say that) I want to also do something else that says thank you. =D

    [Reply]

  4. Rebecca

    08/10/2011

    I just wrote about my experience with Southwest Airlines. I had an awesome experience so I wrote about it at my blog, http://www.findingmyblog.com and tweeted it out with @SouthwestAir in the tweets. They contated me for my y flight information to thankthe pilots. I sure hope they track them down. Then I wrote a follow up post about the great customer service. I felt like I did everything I could andit made me feel good.

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  5. Maria

    08/10/2011

    Taking just a few minutes and making the effort to thoroughly thank some one (beyond just saying “thank you”) is also a good way to be a witness for Jesus.

    When you’re on the receiving end, it can make it much easier to serve others with a cheerful heart. My husband travels a lot–teaching music in churches, leading choir tours, singing with a quartet, and teaching at a music camp. And I don’t like to travel. At all. I go anyway, because it’s what God is asking of me.

    Lots of people thank my husband, because he’s the one who makes them laugh and helps them sing pretty. But once at a music camp with 150 young people, one of the young men sought me out specifically to thank me for the sacrifices I make so they can learn from my husband. I could have cried all over him; it was just so sweet for someone to THINK ABOUT what it costs me. Just a few sincere words of thanks always make it so much easier for me to serve.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, how nice of that student to thank YOU for your time!

    My husband used to coach 3 sports and I always appreciated when parents would thank ME for the time I gave up going to the games, and all the time Dave was away from home — which was a lot.

    [Reply]

  6. Sandy

    08/10/2011

    Andrea – Thank YOU for reminding us to express our gratitude. I try to thank people by name, to their face: a good server, cashier, customer service person, carry out person (heavy things from Lowes), teachers, volunteers, musicians, etc. It’s easy to take the time read their name tag or their name in a program or church bulletin.
    I believe our name is special to us and it makes a “Thank you Andrea” even more special and specific.
    I love the surprised look I get when I am giving a personal and positive comment. Like my grandma taught me……..You attract more anything (bees, friends, etc) with honey than vinegar.

    [Reply]

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