Thank You is Important in Every Language

ItalyI spent an incredible week on a Mediterranean cruise. We visited Spain, France and Italy. Everywhere we went, I tried to know a few words in the native language. Especially thank you – gracias, merci, grazie. It was important for me to recognize the people who were serving me – from clerks at stores and wait staff at restaurants to tour guides and drivers. Everyone appreciates being appreciated.


It is one thing to say thank you in a person’s native tongue. It is another to speak their “appreciation language.” In the book The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Gary Chapman and Paul White share how appreciation is best expressed in business. The basic concept is that as individuals, we each have a preferred way of receiving appreciation. When someone uses that method, we feel appreciated. When someone expresses their appreciation in another way, we may not recognize it. According to their work, there are five different ways to express appreciation.

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Physical Touch

Physical touch can be expressed in many ways: a handshake, a high-five, a pat on the back, or a hug. In the context of personal relationships, this is very important to some people. Chapman found that most people don’t desire physical touch as a form of recognition in a business setting. They preferred one of the other languages of appreciation. But humans need physical touch, so don’t be afraid to use it appropriately in your business relationships.


Receiving Gifts

Some people feel appreciated when they receive a thoughtful gift. It is a great way to show appreciation to your clients. If you are going to send a gift that will make an impression, it needs to be relevant to your client’s interests. A meaningful gift shows that you took the time to know your client and understand what that person would want to receive.


Words of Affirmation

The words “thank you” can be powerful. Some people need to hear or see the words along with why you appreciate them. We don’t say “thanks” or give compliments often enough. Sometimes our clients need to hear it. Send a note in the mail. Call and thank them on the phone. Give a sincere compliment. Thank them for their business.


Quality Time

In our busy world, some people just want to spend a little time with you. When you meet with clients on the phone or in person, give them your undivided attention. Ask about their personal lives, not just business. Do they have plans for the weekend? Are they planning a vacation? How are the kids? Take the time to get to know each client as a person.Consider taking them out to lunch—not a business lunch, just for fun. Take them to sporting or cultural events. Host a client appreciation event where you can spend time with all your clients in an informal, nonbusiness setting.


Acts of Service

Some people really feel appreciated when others serve them. Acts of service say, “You are important enough to me that I want to help you.” In your business relationships, you can do this by going above and beyond in the work clients have hired you to do. Give them free advice or do something that comes easy for you from your area of expertise, but may be a struggle for them. Provide clients with templates, forms, or instructions that will simplify their lives. When you see a need that you can help with, offer to do it for them.


Because you may not know how your clients prefer to be appreciated, incorporate all of these things into the way you do business. Shake their hands, tell them you appreciate them, spend time with them, send a gift, and go above and beyond. When all of these things happen in your business, your clients will feel appreciated by you. When you do that, they trust your ability to deliver and they will remain a loyal client.


(A portion of this blog is an excerpt from the book, Lifelong Loyal Clients by Deb Brown.)

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