When was the last time you received a hand-written letter? Do you remember how you felt? Why did you feel that way you felt?
My first job out of college was in luxury retail industry, particularly in sales. Unlike your day-to-day grocery shopping, the experience we create in a luxury retail boutique needs to make our customers feel that they’re special, and they’re the only one. Very often, we don’t close the sales in just one single encounter. It’s more of the relationship building versus the products sometimes. Relationship management is everything. That’s why you see luxury brands often throw the best parties in town with invitation extended only to their VIPs!
In the company I worked for, a hand-written thank you note is required to be sent to any customer that made a purchase with the boutique. A note might not sound like a lot of work but imagine if we each made 20 sales per day. That’s 100 notes per week per person. Very often, we would have to clear an afternoon schedule just to catch up with our notes. Does the time we spent on the note make economical sense? Yes! I’m not sure how to convert exact dollar values but in the digital-first world today, it’s rare to receive a hand-written note. In fact, most of our customers are surprised and delighted when they receive our notes. It’s the experience that differentiates ourselves from other similar brands.
After I left the company, I’ve picked up the habit of writing. In my mind, a hand-written note is worth more than a thousand text messages. I might not write everyday but I make sure I hand-write personal greeting cards during holiday season to all my friends and families.
Similar to designing for a good experience, sometimes, we might not be able to translate one touchpoint to an exact dollar value right away but it’s the brand image that we’re building — which is what ultimately differentiates one product from the others!