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Why Do We Say “thank You”? Does It Really Matter?

Posted by Deremiah *CPE on 2844 Points
Is “Thank You” part of the Marketing process?

Should it be a real genuine emotional response, a sort of “attitude of gratitude” to those who have assisted us and made a difference in our lives. Or

Should it be an automatic response? An almost robotic sort of thing like what you find on some of your shopping receipts.

Marketingprofs has a lot of talented individuals who do some amazing things. Have you ever experienced a MarketingProfs guardian Angel or a special gesture from some comrade here on the forum? Come on and share in this post how someone here has made a difference in your lives.

Well here’s my genuine thank you. A few months back I was submitting another article to Nightingale Conant’s online/offline magazine. I had created a few articles that I had written in case they wanted me to submit something else. Well sure enough they did want me to offer another submission but I felt there was something I was missing…another set of eyes and someone who could help me review the content for additional editing. One of my Marketingprofs friends offered some assistance when they reviewed the content and went the extra mile by offering some key suggestions. I took their advice and sure enough just recently Nightingale Conant was very excited and wanted to use the article I submitted. I can’t go any further without saying a Great Big---

“THANKS Shelley, sryan, aka *Pretty Smart for all of your assistance. The advice you offered has made a difference… a huge difference”.

And this is the introduction to my question. How many times have you done things for people and they seem to go unappreciated? Have you ever helped someone, donated your time to something or given your services to someone and you never even heard one single peep out of them after everything was done? How did that make you feel and does thank you really matter? Is a verbal thank you enough or should you go a little further to let people know how much you really appreciate them?

My direct question to you right now is {Why do you say “Thank you” and does it really, really matter?}

  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    To start it off a friend of mine from outside of America said that the American sales person uses a very plastic form of appreciation that says "I've been trained to respond in the appropriate manner". This trained formal approach to handling customers has been viewed as plastic, fake and not geniune. So how can we really get back to a place where we are operating from our heart the center of our universe where being really, really geniune lives? My above question is really trying to get back to the heart of "Being Real" showing real geniune appreciation instead of that plastic stuff that really says we really have not matured as a person or culture. Thanks so much for all you do to help me see more clearly. Is there anything I can do for you because treating my customer in a loving manner is truly what I live for.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE (Customer Passion Evangelist)

    Creating Personal Expression
  • Posted by MonMark Group on Accepted
    Deremiah, I'm ashamed of you.
    Thank you is the most important part of any interpersonal relationship. If I ever fail to say thank you, it is because you don't deserve it. But, you always do. Thank you is the reason we do things. Not for money or glory. But, for the opportunity to have someone say Thank you, Randall. When I have done something for them.
    Understand that?

  • Posted on Accepted
    Well I say thankyou generally when I have been helped by another person. For me it is not a instant robotic response.
    When I receive a Thankyou I like to receive a geniune Thankyou and I beleive most people are able to identify a geniune thankyou from a plactic one.

    I will like to take this oppertunity to thank all those people who have helped me here. Thank you!!
    Sanjeev Kumar Vyas
  • Posted on Accepted

    Good question.

    Personally, I do say "Thank you" when I mean it. If it is not a significantly "Thank you" moment than I say the lesser form of "Thanks".

    If there is nothing to be thanking them for I say "Best regards".

    If just an adios is on order, I leave it with a "Later".

    A "Thank you" is certainly not an automatic response for me.

    BTW, what is with the sig "Best"? That is one I don't get.

    Even worse is "with warm regards" when the sender and receiver don't even have a personal relationship, actually sounds sleazy.

    I hope that helps (which, I hope it does)
  • Posted by sham on Accepted
    dear deremiah,

    well "thank you" is the wordings the person uses to express his gratitude, to the person who has helped him. but for me the tone, the voice (if conveyed orally) or the medium he has used (like artwork of the thank you card how carefully the person has written, also matter equally than just mere words.
    in todays marketing world thank you has almost has become part of marketing professional talk many times without any emotion in it. for me the emotion attached with the word tells more about how best, or how much the person is genuinely conveying his feeling.
    of course any favour, any help received must be complimented with a genuine thank you not to praise the person but to show how much we are being helped by the person. i feel its pretty important to express and appreciate the persons efforts to help us so that in case if we need any help anytime there will be someone to help us.

    i am sure this will helps you to fine a solution to your question
  • Posted on Accepted
    I have noted in recent years the increased usage of the phrase "thanks so much." Perhaps it reflects the nature of humankind to enhance experiences. For example, "Da Bomb" would seem to enhance valued experiences that were once just "Phat."

    Philosophically, I would think "thank you" speaks to the needs of humankind. It is a reward currency sufficiently "understood" and accepted. However, it would seem that individuals have different levels of need when it comes to "being appreciated," with some egos requiring higher maintenance than others. There are folks who do what they do with a great deal of satisfaction and are not encumbered by concisous or unconcious measures of how many "thank yous" were generated by the effort. And, of course, "thank you" is situational.

    "Thank you for submitting your article. We are interested in publishing it" invites a different interpretation than "Thank you for submitting your article. Don't call us. We will call you."

    Deremiah's initial post raises in my mind the question of how "thank you" is used as a post-interaction valuation of experiences. One might feel themselves ill used if a "sufficient" level of thankfulness was not forthcoming, which would likely serve to shape the opinion one has of the offending party and subsequent interactions.

    However, it could be observed that this speaks more to the perspective and need of the offended party than to the perceived "offending party" of the first part (or is that party of second part), who does not have a clue they have failed to provide sufficient thankfulness.

    I seem to be a situational user of "thank you," with varying levels of sincerity -- heartfelt and otherwise. Otherwise being those occassions when "thank you" is a matter of courtesy.

    This is much like the greeting "How do you do?" While I might want to respond, "I do just fine, thank you for asking. How do you do?," I will likely respond with "Hello, nice to meet you" or "Fine thanks, How are you?" In this instance, it is generally understood that the individual is not being literally asked how they do, rather it is a form of greeting or initiation of conversation, usually between strangers.

    As to the question of whether "thank you" matters, I would say it matters greatly. It matters as a reward currency, as I mentioned above, and it matters as a fundamental aspect of "civilized" interaction in a "civilized" society. It's part of the ground rules of proper interaction. Unfortunately, the use of "thank you" in such a manner works to cheapen its value as a reward currency.

    Therefore, it would seem that thank you increasingly requires "qualifiers" that differentiate it in use.

    For example, a seemingly generic "thank you for your contribution to the project" would have less value than "I truly want to thank you for your significant contribution on this project," followed by specific examples of the contribution made.

    It would seem to work in marketing as well. The "thank you for shopping at Smith's" from the cashier has a different value to the customer than "Thank you for shopping at Smith's and to show our appreciation here is a bundle of 'cents-off' coupons for products you usually purchase."

    This very forum would be worthy of an ethnographical study in how virtual communities make use of formal and informal rewards, including "thank you."

    Robert Kozinets ("E-tribalized Marketing?: The Strategic Implications of Virtual Communities of Consumption," European Management Journal, 17 (3), 1999) identifies four types of users of virtual communities: tourists, minglers, devotees and insiders, which invites the observation that in the seeming tone and word usage to construct responses in this forum, there are users who convey a greater sense of expectation of appreciation than others, which seems to bear some correlation to user "type."

    On that note, I want to sincerely and with a great and deep sense of apprecation thank those who have taken the time to read my thoughts on thank you. Oh, and I would be remiss in not specifically thanking Deremiah for raising this interesting question.

  • Posted on Accepted
    We say thank you entirely too often on its own. To be effective - in fact, to be heard in today's "thank you" society - you must attach a situation or behavior to thanks. For instance, "Thank you; I appreciate your confidence in our services." or "Thank you; your research will make my report so much better." or "Thanks; this has been a great conversation. I'll have something new to think about on my way home tonight."

    Without specifics, the recipient may say, "Thanks for what? Spending my money here... getting sick so you can poke me with needles and charge me too much.... fattening your commission check by buying clothes I don't need..." You get my drift.

    Many times, I replace thank you with "I appreciate your help." People hear that - and they will help me again.

    I also write thank you notes that specify an occassion or behavior that has made a difference. "Thank you for agreeing to serve on the Communications Team. Your experience in an off-campus location will help us determine the needs of non-traditional employees and develop more effective ways of making them feel connected to our organizations. I appreciate your help."

    Why do we say thanks? Out of appreciation, to boost performance / confidence and to ensure repeated positive behavior.

    I keep thank you notes and emails that are written to me. When I receive a new thank you note, earns a place on my cluttered desk, right next to the picture of my kids. As for the one it is replacing, I put it in a basket designated for holding only thank you notes. It's a warm and fuzzy ritual that means "You did something good."

    Do they really matter? To me, yes. I remember verbal thanks whenit is sincere. And I have to think that thanks matters to others as well. I see thank you notes posted on bulletin boards, in frames and on desks. I am frequently thanked for my thank you notes. I believe that it's equally important to say, "You're welcome."
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Hey Randall, (aka W.M.M.A)

    It's okay for you to be ashamed of me. I burst peoples bubbles all the time so just don't let yours get to big any time soon or else I might....just... BURST>>> it. (lol)

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights. You know how I am. I just like to go deeper if I can. Sometimes just hearing it from one more person gives me a richer shade of color than I had before.

    Hi Sanjeev Kumar Vyas,

    I would like to believe that most people can tell a geniune thank you from a not so geniune thank you but with so many thank you's being thrown at us like a ticker tape parade, who knows how people perceive this thing. One things for sure the common perception is that some of it is not geniune and I appreciat you sharing your insights about it.

    Well Pepper Blue, Thank you for the compliment on the "good question". This subject of saying "Thank You" just has been at the back of my mind waiting for a chance to hear people like you express theymsleves.

    I appreciate your input on this thing. I'm sure that a lot of people feel like they're on the receiving end of an autoresponder.

    Thank youThank youThank you Thank you Thank you
    Thank youThank youThank youThank you Thank you Thank youThank youThank youThank you Thank you Thank youThank youThank youThank you Thank you Thank youThank youThank youThank you Thank you Thank youThank youThank youThank you Thank you Thank you
    Thank youThank youThank youThank you Thank you

    Okay you get my point and I get yours too.

    Great explanations Pepper on the subject of closing salutations.

    Has anyone out there just used closing salutations without realizing that "thank you" might not sound geniune?

  • Posted on Accepted
    Great question and I want to say Thank you for the many sage words you have written in here in response to a wide range of questions.

    I agree with much of what has been said about the importance of being genuine, but I want to take a bit of a contrarian point of view.

    I think the words, in and of themselves, ARE important. I know of several situation in service providor settings where there was a problem with customer satisfaction. Surveys indicated that customers were not feeling appreciated, etc.

    Our response was scripting. We wrote down for frontline people exactly what we expected them to say, including Thank You at the conclusion of the interaction. Customer Satisfaction scores rose significantly.

    Would it have been better if those Thank You's were genuine and heartfelt as the many I have read in here are? Absolutely! But saying Thank You mechanically or by rote, is still better than not saying it at all!

    Thank you for instigating a thought provoking discussion!

  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    Deremiah my brother...

    This is a wonderful topic. I'd provide a few words to indicate my appreciation and gratitude to you for posting it if I didn't think those words would merely reverberate uselessly from your hardened, cynical eardrums before echoing soundlessly around the world, the boilerplate language apparently devoid of all meaning and the slightest skerrick of sincerity.

    So, what can I say?

    You're a hard taskmaster!

    But we all deserve it!

  • Posted by rob on Accepted
    Clearly there have been a world of views on the how's and why' of saying Thank You that offer a clearer vision on what it means to be truly sincere vs. just being polite.

    When I first read this question, the first thing that came to mind was the Jewish burial tradition of throwing dirt into a grave with the shovel upside down. And why is the shovel upside down? The reason is that you are doing something a mitzveh (blessing) that you may not really want to be doing and the person you are doing this mitzveh for someone who cannot Thank You. So clearly, while you have a heavy heart and their's no reward of Thank You, it is still your duty to complete the journey for this loved one.

    Thank you Deremiah, and everyone else, for taking the time to share thoughts of a quite serious nature. And show that there is more to life than just a token Thanks.

  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author

    You have said it well and sure enough the vitality of this question can bring forth life or death not only in your business relationships but in your family and social relationships. I do most certainly agree with the depth of usage one may find in a more culturally wise person but even within the uncultured these two words have more power than we could ever imagine.


    (Not anyone else’s just the attitude of “MY gratitude”)…

    Mandarud, I also agree with you that it is possible that “Thinking about whether it is automatic or artificial may not lead us to any finding”……..but it sure beats the heck out of not thinking about it at all. What we fail to ponder, meditate, incubate and release to germinate upon will surely come back upon us in ways that not reviewing it will remind us so hauntingly candid. And it is ((( oh! ))) so painful to be reminded of what we all have ignorantly and sometimes willfully failed to re-examine more closely. Thumbing back through our failures we must honestly recognize that we all have them and this reminds us of those simple moments when the use of “Thank You” would have been far better than showing our selfish lack of appreciation.

    The famous German architect of Chicago’s most beautifully made buildings once said “God is in the details”.


    To put another way “what you find in the details is divine”. The divinity that is communicated in the details of these two small words “Thank You” is almost heavenly when we utter them with purity of appreciation as we look into the eye “the mirror to the soul” of the person and release the fruit of our lips “Thank You”. This is how much we appreciate the actions of others and it is truly divine.

    *CPE (Capturing Positive Energy)
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author

    Thank You, for your words of inspiration. I really like this and really appreciate your excellent insight when you said…

    “but for me the tone, the voice (if conveyed orally) or the medium he has used (like artwork of the thank you card how carefully the person has written, also matter equally than just mere words.”

    THIS IS GENIUS…the above really does communicate how observant we all really are.

    How we communicate “Thank you” does impact us in the quality of its tone and the manner of disposition in our voice. We do humanly measure these things not as a way to cast judgment on the quality of a persons communication as if we were measuring what another says like it were an Olympic event.

    But there are perfect 10’s in how we say “Thank you”. We are internally structured to measure the quality of what we hear, the intonation, the inflection, the physical gestures of others as they say the things they say. Yes we are all simultaneously sending messages…details of how we feel about what we are experiencing as we release words into the atmosphere of the listener.

    You better be paying attention to the de-tails or else it might be your tail that loses a friend, relative or very important client because you are not communicating with a language of love and appreciation of gratitude.

    Remember these two principles…

    YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE (how high you will soar across the hemispheres of life to reach your dreams)

    YOUR GRATITUDE DETERMINES YOUR LATITUDE (how far and wide & how many people you will have the ability to touch across the oceans and lands of this great earth)


    THANK YOU AGAIN shamacharya, for you said it well when you said…

    “in todays marketing world thank you has almost has become part of marketing professional talk many times without any emotion in it. for me the emotion attached with the word tells more about how best, or how much the person is genuinely conveying his feeling.”

    We are emotional beings and emotion is the power or fuel that propels “Thank You”. We can not be lethargic about how we use two of the smallest words but yet most powerful words in language. Shamacharya people really do want to believe that there will be some fire in your “Thank you”. Don’t under estimate the emotion of language. Real marketing is genuinely emotional because customers buy because of their emotions.

    *CPE (Creating Positive E-motion)
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author

    Thank you so very much for offering another way to look at how we are used by Thank you.

    Stk_hill>“I would think "thank you" speaks to the needs of humankind.”


    Thank you does speak to our needs because we all have a desire to feel appreciated. When we receive a thank you we walk away re-fueled, re-energized and ready to go the extra mile. Thank you should be one of the dietary requirements of all the mental food we take into consumption.

    So often you fail to receive thanks to you for what you have done. And those of us (all of us) we fail to share our attitude of gratitude and we leave the world in a malnutrition state when we should leave the world more inspired. I know I’m tired, you’re tired, we’re all tired and that’s the easy way out of this but still people are starving for appreciation. What’s worse is what the other person needs to receive from you and what you need to give are of equal value to all parties concerned.


    So many times we are not giving real appreciation and in turn we are not receiving or getting real appreciation because we are not giving any. What you give out comes back to you increased and multiplied. Why are people so engrossed in themselves and simultaneously starving? They are missing an opportunity to reproduce.

    If a farmer fails to plant during the planting season he will not receive during the harvest season.

    *CPE (Constantly Perpetually Evocative)
  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    I really appreciate your short input about why it is so important to apply genuine versus fake appreciation

    macpaddy, Great input. I love your stuff. Thanks so much for sharing. You impressed me with how you added the level of taking a thank you to a place where it comes with a description of why I’m thanking you. I often try to get my students to be more specific along these lines…here’s a chance to go deeper. As we learn how to give genuine thanks we begin to live from a much richer place on the inside.

    Macpaddy, it really does feel good to be appreciated but I’ve learned to live to give thanks. Now more than ever giving genuine thanks is to me is more satisfying than looking for “Thank you”. The old bible verse that says “It is better to give than it is to receive” now has a place of true meaning and fulfillment in my life. Why?

    Nothing beats giving! Nothing beats living to give…Living the other way is living to take. Looking for opportunities for people to pat you on the back. Start giving people a reason to be happy by living a life with purpose, vision and hope. People are looking for those who are living passionately. Passionate living keeps giving and never runs out of room to give because as we give we receive. We receive a new appreciation for wanting to give more.

    Brian Tracy quotes one of the Universal Laws as “Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world”.

    And it reflects the quality of your living. So how are you living? Are you really committed to giving from within? Do you look for ways to say “Thank You” with sincere appreciation. Does your level of appreciation for others send you searching for a way to communicate your thank you from a more sincere position when you offer up your thanks? Or do you really think “it only matters that I say thank you” because no ones listening to my heart?

    I hope you are enjoying this because I really appreciate your input. KINGWINTERS you know I appreciate just seeing your name on my post because I know you are going to always offer some Kingly advice :-)

    Remember I love to live for an opportunity to encourage others. Give me a chance to do something special for you. Is there anything else I can do for any of you? You’ll never really know how much I truly appreciate everyone’s input on this question.

    Your Servant, Deremiah, *CPE (Customer Passion Evangelist)

    *CPE (Continuously Provocative Enthusiasm)
  • Posted by on Accepted
    "Why do you say “Thank you” and does it really, really matter?"

    It might sound a little sad, but whenever someone thanks me for a job well done I'm particularly thrilled, because it happens so rarely.

    Too many people in business feel that provided they pay suppliers like me in reasonable time they don't need to say thank you as well.

    I don't feel that to say thank you is merely a formality, either. I try always to say it when someone has done something for me, and mean it. It's saying to them "I don't just take you for granted; I recognize that you're a human being rather than a machine and I appreciate what you do."

    Probably the term "thank you" has become overused and hackneyed. People use it erroneously - e.g. TV presenters thanking whoever has handed over to them, directors or managers who interrupt someone by saying it to shut them up, etc.

    Maybe we should think up a new way of saying the real meaning of "thank you" to differentiate between using it inappropriately, and to show genuine appreciation.

    Anyone up for that???

    In the meantime, thank you Deremiah, for raising such an interesting point, and one that probably should be a lot closer to our hearts than it is. Or at least, was.

  • Posted by Jo Masterson on Member
    Do to others as you wish done to you?

    I think we say "thank you" because we ourselves want to be appreciated and assume others do too.

    Thanks for asking,

  • Posted by eugene on Accepted
    Hi Deremiah,

    Thank you for asking a great question. I really enjoyed reading the responses.

    I remember reading from one of Zig Ziglar's books where he constantly mentioned "you will get what you want in life if you help enough people get what they want".

    I believe this is in the spirit of giving and sharing, and in so doing, creating a chain reaction of people genuinely caring and wanting to help one another.

    My previous company encouraged employees to send "STARS" (basically thank you notes) to each other for any help they received. It was a little slow coming at first but once people got the hang of it, STARS were flying everywhere. Suddenly everyone was going out of their way to help other people (the STARS would actually be reflected in their appraisals during appraisal time, so the more STARS you have, the better for you). But the appraisal aside, employees felt good and teamwork improved. Everyone became more positive and productivity increased...

    Moral of the story is, saying thank you or showing our appreciation affects people around us, just as smiling does.

    Of course, thank yous tend to be overly used in business and a lot of people don't mean what they say i.e. becoming like a ritual.

    I guess we have to be careful and examine ourselves whether we really mean what we say, and if we are genuine, the recipient will know. Sometimes, a phone call to say thank you can mean more than an e-card or a card as it's more personalised as well as requiring effort!

    Bottomline, it shouldn't bother us too much whether people around us are fake or not, but we ourselves should be genuine...

    Again, a big thank you for an interesting question.

  • Posted by darcy.moen on Accepted
    There are four words that seperate your business from your competitors. Those four words are: Thank You I'm Sorry.

    Thank you is something I have always trained staff to say. When someone left an order of dirty clothes for dry cleaning on my counter, the staff had to say ' Thank You'. When the customer handed over payment for services rendered, staff had to say ' thank you'.

    For some of the new kids, they had to be, (shudder...and I don;t like to have to say this...) taught, how to say thank you. Can you imagine? Not knowing how to say thank you? I don;t mean, like English as a second language, but, really, we had to teach some staff when to say...a simple...thank you. Gosh!

    I can't imagine why folks would not say thank you. I wouldn't do business with anyone who didn't appreciate my business, or at least express moderte gratitude with a simple thank you.

    As for 'I'm sorry'. If you can't say Thank you, you had best learn how to say 'I'm sorry'.

    Darcy Moen
    Customer Loyalty Network
  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Accepted
    Hey Deremiah; I'm back again...

    Of course Thank You needs to be part of the marketing process. It's part of life, if we don't have time to say Thank You we need to go into the hall of mirrors and take a good, hard look at ourselves!

    What are we saying, we all become as hardened as a New York waiter or cabbie?

    Problem is, when it's said with no sincerity or feeling.

    How many times did you hear a junior say "thank you for shopping at K-Mart" with no sincerity. Once I asked why they were thanking me... She said, "I have to, see it says TYFSAK on my cash register and if I don't I get fired"... Not the greatest reason to hear the words...

    So if Thank You has become passé, what's next? Should we stop telling our families we love them? Stop saying "Please" with a request?

    I don't think so. I think you know in your own heart we should do these things:

    1. Always give thanks for what we have received.
    2. Likewise, give thanks for what we are about to receive
    3. Tell our families and friends we love them.
    4. Tell people when they've done a great job.
    5. Apologise sincerely when something's been screwed up, whether it's our fault or not.
    6. Tell people we're sorry when they share their sadness or pain. Again, no admission of liability, merely a sharing or human emotion.

    A Homer Simpson once said "That's what makes us different from the animal kingdom".


  • Posted by Carl Crawford on Member
    I was taught to say "thank you", but i only say it when i mean it.

    If i don't feel like they mean it i just grunt, :) always gets a surprised look, then the next time they usually give it more feeling.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Again, thank you to all that have written some thought provoking responses.

    But I still want to challenge the concept that "Thank You" said without sincerity is worthless. While I strongly agree that a sincere Thanks is far better and much more valuable than a Thanks said by rote or script, I still think that "Thank You" and/or "Have a nice day" have become de rigueur in social and business settings and as such, are more noticable by its absence than its presence.

    Obviously, the exception to that is an effusive and sincere expression of gratitude. Nevertheless, I think more people notice when someone DOESN"T say "Thank You" than when they do. In other words, I rarely expect the check out clerk at K-Mart to be genuinely thrilled that I chose to shop there, but I do expect a certain patina of polite interaction.

    Just another point of view...

  • Posted by Deremiah *CPE on Author
    Of Course I agree with you Bill and I thank with the deepest level of appreciation and gratitude all of you. I have learned so much from this simple post including the answer to why "Thank You" is so utterly important to the foundation of what we become in the process of appreciating others. Two small words but one powerfully dynamic effect it has upon us all.

    Your Servant,

    Deremiah, *CPE
  • Posted on Member

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