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For the past several years, there has been a shift in the philosophy of “Thank You”. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, the “Power of Thank You” was simple and common in our everyday dialogue. It was more of a quid pro quo (something that was given or taken in return for something else). Consumers would see a “Thank you” occur in tangible forms like notes, emails, and even a gift card.

Because of the onslaught of digital consumption, the “Thank You” philosophy as we know it has shifted. User experience and instant product reviews have significantly changed how we shop, purchase, and engage with a product(s), good(s), and services. Consumer reviews have always been very powerful, but now they have an instant voice. Potential consumers, employees, donors, clients, and contractors are instantly listening, watching, and engaging. Because of this shift, reviews and organic search rankings have tremendous power. An awesome user experience backed with a great product…5 stars! A terrible user experience, with a bad product…1-star review.

thought bubble people

In this new digital world, organizational leaders are no longer the hero.

The consumer is the hero and the organization is their guide. Engagement with the consumer, or lack thereof, is a reflection of the organizational leader’s heart. Digital marketing has become a megaphone for the organizational identity, a direct reflection on how organizations behave and interact with the consumer. If organizational leaders see themselves as the hero, consumers will see the organization as lazy, out of touch, and perceived as disrespectful and not engaged with the needs of their consumer.

In this new “Thank You” philosophy, it is critical to acknowledge that the changes in the digital culture are rapid and engagement is happening instantly. Engagement is no longer an hour from now, not two days from now, but right now.

Competitive prices, efficient customer service, a smooth check out process, and timely delivery are no longer exceptional services, they are a basic commodity for any organization or business.

What can organizational leaders do to embrace this philosophy?

The new power of “Thank You” is about thanking the customer (the hero) by providing them with what they deserve.

What do they deserve?

They deserve, a world-class engagement experience linked to an exceptional product. Engaging the consumer through the decision making, purchasing, and follow up process is the start of the world-class experience and the beginning of embracing the new Power of Thank you.

flying kid

Harnessing the new “Power of Thank You”, will have significant and overwhelming benefits. Employees rave about the company, consumers instantly share, like, and instant message friends. Your donors become raving fans and your best salespeople, click-through rates and impressions go up, while bounce rates go down.

And what do organizational leaders have to do for this honor?

Here are a few tips from companies that are exceptional.

First, Embrace change. Zappos leaders embrace the change necessary to provide customers with better products and engagement process.

Deliver WOW Through Service; Embrace and Drive Change; Create Fun and A Little Weirdness; Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded; Pursue Growth and Learning; Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication; Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit; Do More With Less; Be Passionate and Determined; Be Humble.

Tony HsieghZappos CEO

Second, for the love of God, experience your own product. REI leaders experience their own product and work together to inspire and educate.

Our core purpose guides everything we do: we all work to inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.

Jerry StritzkeREI CEO

Third, change the lens. Amazon leaders have changed their lens on how they see themselves and their customers. Amazon leaders are not the hero, their customers are the hero.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.

Jeff BezosAmazon CEO

These simple steps will change the process and create a world-class front end experience, resulting in the consumers saying thank you on the back end.

shiny happy people

In part II, I will dive deeper into the practical steps for organizational leaders to implement the new “Power of Thank you”, starting with how to engage their own product and finish with how to shift the lens of the hero from the organization to the consumer.

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