Friday, December 21, 2012

The Power of a Simple Thank You

In the book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk offers compelling evidence that we have entered into an entirely new business era, one in which the companies that see the biggest returns won't be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but will be those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else.

He illustrates that the businesses and brands that harness the word-of-mouth power from social media, those that can shift their culture to be more customer-aware and fan-friendly, will pull away from the pack and profit in today's markets.

To this end, I received an email letter today from one of the banks where I have an account. Seeing that I had just opened an account with Simple, I anticipated the worst. Maybe my initial deposit didn't clear. Maybe I did one of my transactions incorrectly or possibly didn't activate my debit card correctly. But the subject line for the email just had the words 'Thank You'. Upon opening the email (personalized with the name I told Simple I preferred using as opposed to my 'legal' name on the account), I must admit I was surprised to see that the email included nothing more than a 'thank you'. That's right, a simple appreciation letter from Josh Reich, the CEO of Simple.

The email letter did a great job of integrating the positioning of their brand while thanking me for being a part of their growth. The email thanked those who continue to interact with the bank (most banks seem to be fearful of interaction), and even included links to several of their new innovations in a way that did not seem as self serving as it could have been. In short, it was a nice message that reinforced the reasons why I wanted to try Simple.

Simple didn't need to send the email above. I would have happily continued to use the bank as I learn more about how they can make banking easier. The revenue from my relationship with the bank, at least now, is also relatively minor since I just opened the account and my balances are low (signaling that they didn't send this to just their best customers). And, I realize that this was an email that was probably sent to all of their customers as opposed to a hand written note, but it still got my attention. It got my attention because I don't remember a time when any of the other banks I do business with ever sent me a thank you.

The email served to humanize the team at Simple for me - especially since they included many of the real names on the Simple team at the bottom of the letter - and helped me understand that they will continue to do business differently than the banks I have had much more significant accounts with for decades.

It may sound a bit silly, but making a customer feel appreciated, even by email, can go a long way. Especially, when this small effort is not commonplace. As a result of this simple message (pun intended), I am more likely to expand my relationship and tell others about my experience. And it appears I am not alone.

In a quick review of tweets referencing the Simple 'thank you' email, I came across the following tweets, illustrating the power of social media and word of mouth when something good occurs.

There have also been several positive responses to my posting of this blog on LinkedIn and positive reaction on Google Plus and Facebook. Interestingly, even though the email may feel a bit impersonal to some, I realized there was a person behind this nice email when I tweeted about my experience. In response to my showing of appreciation, CEO Josh Reich immediately responded to my tweet. Nice touch.

Cynics could argue that a 'thank you' email just adds to an already overstuffed email in box and that many may just do a quick scan over the email and throw it out. On the other hand, someone like me could be struck by the simplicity of the effort and amazed that other banks don't do the same.

I have a single message for the other banks I do business with and those that continuously tout their commitment to great customer service and an enhanced customer experience . . .

Don't underestimate the power of a Simple thank you!

Addendum: Never Underestimate the Power of a Simple Account Agreement

Today I received an email detailing changes to my account agreement. I was expecting the normal end of year bank adjustments that would increase fees, limit my flexibility and/or reduce my benefits.

Instead, Simple went against the norm by increasing the my account functionality without an increase in fees. They even explained a bit more about their remote deposit capture capability and how I could leverage the new changes to improve my achievement of my goals.

And while the linked account agreement was rather lengthy, the email provided me with all of the changes in plain English in 130 words *(including another 'Thank You' and 'Happy New Year'.

What a nice way to begin a new year as a customer of Simple.


  1. Jim,

    Thanks for posting your story ;-)


  2. “Brand is behavior.” Jonathan Salem Baskin expressed this in a presentation he recently gave at a banking conference. The idea is simple; if you understand your customer and cater to them they will love you. This is a perfect example of that idea. The people at Simple are creating a brand around their connection to the customer, and it appears to be working. Small gestures like a simple thank you are so often ignored and make such an impact. This proves why financial institutions must continue to understand what matters most to their customers and excel at achieving the highest level of customer service.

  3. It is very nice story, thanks for sharing your experience with us. In the market every organization is using various strategies for making their customers happy and loyal who are valuable to their organization even in the banking industry, this one is a good example of it. Banking Industry Report