It’s gratifying to be able to communicate with customers instantaneously. They comment on your blog and you reply. They tweet and you re-tweet. Do they like what you’re offering? Just check the customer reviews.
And yet there’s another way to connect with your customers that’s so old and forgotten, it’s young again: sit down and write them a letter.
I try to do this at least once a week, and for a few customers. Sometimes I’m replying to their own handwritten letters to Levenger. But many times I’m simply thanking customers for their business. Sending a message through the post has the added advantage of being able to dispatch more than just good wishes. I often include a small Levenger goodie as a three-dimensional expression of my gratitude.
These letters are not long, nor do they need to be. I use correspondence cards, which provide a writing canvas that’s approximately 4 by 6 inches. Etiquette calls for writing on only one side of these cards.
My 3 Tips for Successful Word of Pen
1. Use nice paper and a good pen. They really do make a difference.
2. Write in quiet surroundings native to the old craft, in a screen-free environment so that it’s just you, your customer, and your message.
3. Use the time as therapy for yourself. Let the smooth motion of the pen smooth out your thoughts.
Among his many famous pronouncements, Marshall McLuhan said that once a technology becomes obsolete, it’s free to do what it can do best. Now that we no longer need paper and pen to communicate, how satisfying to be able to choose rich paper and a fine pen as a way to surprise and delight the people who keep us in business.
And now that people find fewer first-class letters in their mailboxes, how much more special those few become. My hunch is that every customer I’ve sent a letter to has told at least one person about this quaint custom. What a happy way to get a customer’s attention and win his or her loyalty.
There’s another happy outcome to Word of Pen. I find myself slowing down as I write these letters, focusing better, renewing that vital link between writing and thinking. Connecting with your customers through pen and paper is a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself.
That’s a win-win worth writing home about.