Attitude of Gratitude

By Rob Bell


During a “Make ‘em Say WOW” customer service session that I recently presented, a lady in the audience asked me, “What is the most important idea you can give us to provide great service?


That’s a great question, a question that I had never been asked before.  It kind of caught me off guard.  I felt the pressure because there was a relatively large audience waiting for a brilliant response.


And then it came to me.  It was obvious. 


Are you ready?  Here’s the most important thing you can do to earn loyalty and keep your customers coming back:


Say “thank you” a lot.


That’s it.  Consistently and sincerely remind your customers that you appreciate their business. 


There have been many times when I have experienced team members who finished the transaction by saying “Have a great day.”  Insincerely telling me to have a great day never ever impresses me. 


Last summer I stopped at a convenience store to purchase some supplies to take back to my hotel room.  The cashier was very friendly.  He made eye-contact and had a friendly smile.  He even counted my change back to me.  He concluded the transaction with the standard “Have a great day.” 


Since there were no customers behind me, I complimented him on providing good service.  I then offered him one suggestion.  I told him that the transaction would have been perfect if he would have said “thank you” instead of “have a great day.”  I don’t think the young man appreciated my suggestion as he pointed out that the sales receipt had “Thank you for your business” printed at the bottom.  That doesn’t count!


Saying thank you doesn’t cost a thing.  Saying thank you lets customers know you appreciate that they have chosen your services.  Saying thank you makes your customers feel important.


Below are a few suggestions to achieve consistent customer gratitude:


  1. Communicate to every team member that we all must let our customers know we sincerely appreciate their business by consistently and sincerely saying “thank you.”
  2. Your leadership team must walk the talk.  Be sure that you are offeriing sincere appreciation to all of your customers.  Also, treat the team members with whom you work as your very best customers and consistently thank them for their efforts.  The more you catch people doing something right, the less you’ll catch them doing something wrong.
  3. Eliminate “have a great day” from your vocabulary.  It’s boring and everyone assumes you said it without thinking about it.  I doubt if anyone has ever thought, “WOW, that guy exceeded my expectations by telling me to have a great day.”
  4. Make saying thank you a non-negotiable with your team.  Pay attention to customer interactions and if a team member isn’t always saying thank you, let them know.  They probably didn’t realize that they hadn’t said thanks.  Or maybe they didn’t understand how important it is. After all, where attention goes energy flows.


In these challenging times, every customer is important.  Implementing an attitude of gratitude program is a very inexpensive and effective way to build loyalty.


Thank you.






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