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William is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Department of Business Administration and Tourism and Hospitality Management. He is fascinated by research around how individuals construct and create their social realities, intrigued with the powers of creativity and innovation, and an avid proponent of outstanding service experiences. When not teaching, writing, or researching, he tries to spend time with his family and occasionally paint. He is currently completing his PhD in Management at Saint Mary’s University.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Power of "Thank You"

The other day I came home and found a card on my wife’s desk. Before you think that I was snooping, the corner of her desk is normally where she puts the family mail. When I looked to see who the card was from, I found that it was a thank you note from our new dentist. The office staff had all signed a card thanking my wife for recommending me to the clinic.

A little odd you might think. Isn’t it natural that when one person in a family finds a good service, the rest of the family uses that same service provider? Isn’t it...obvious?

No. It’s not obvious. I have the ability to choose for myself who to go do, and this dentist’s office understands that fact. If my wife and I end up in the same place, our kids will likely go there. If we are happy with the service, we’ll stay, talk about it, even recommend more people.

Our local dentist’s office understands the power of ‘thank you’, of moving away from an assumption of satisfaction, from an email or voice message. They took the time to sign a card and say it personally. They invested a little bit of themselves into the relationship.

Over the last three weeks, I’ve received a few hand-written cards of thanks. I keep each one and display time in my office like Christmas cards. To me, the senders of these cards understand the need to get back to the basics of human relationships. For that, I celebrate their actions and their tokens.

How do you like to be thanked? How important is this human touch in your world? Let me know in the comments. 


  1. I'm a big believer in the thank-you note, although admittedly it often comes in the form of an email these days. But I try to personalize it with at least one specific, relevant way that person helped me, e.g., "Our conversation caused me to think about..." "The children at your school inspired me with their laughter," "I'll use that gift card to treat myself to a gourmet coffee." Funny coincidence about your dentist, though, as mine does the same thing.

  2. I too am a huge fan of thank you notes, as well as the "thinking of you" variety. I have a stash of them handy and send them out whenever the whim strikes. I think that in this hectic world it is a heart warming moment to open a piece of mail that is addressed to you and has a personal note inside. It makes my day to receive a piece of mail that does not have a bill attached to it. Most of my family is far away, and we send each other little notes frequently.


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