Writing shows you care
When we want to say something really important we use pen and paper. Think about the last time you declared your love for someone in written form. Was it using a pen or did you fire up your computer and type something out? For most it is the former. Because our words mean more when they are in our own handwriting. Handwriting gives our words more depth, more personality and it is more personal to the reader. This ultimately makes the expression more impactful.
In the same way, businesses have known for years that writing to people and sending them personal messages with pen and ink is more powerful than sending an email or sending something generic with a typed font on paper. And there are lots of businesses that have made this personal touch a critical part of their customer engagement strategy.
Handwriting is more effective than email
Even in this digital era lots of small businesses and start ups have relied on handwritten notes to tell their customers and early adopters how valuable they are to them. They know that every customer matters and they want to thank them. So they take the time and spend the money to send them something extremely personal. And it works. These customers feel more connected to the brand or company than they would otherwise.
But why is that?
A lot of it is wrapped up in the notion of going to the “trouble to write” to them. We all know that sending something physical costs more than an email, tweet or text. We all get those everyday and they cost nothing to send. In contrast, postage isn’t cheap and it isn’t getting any cheaper. So when we get something physical we know that that business or organisation has cared more to do so because they have actually paid to do it. And that feeling only goes up if the stationery is of a high quality and the letter is hand stamped. “Wow, they paid full postage!”.
The perception of value increases even further with a handwritten piece of correspondence. That is because the recipient knows that the person writing had to take time to put pen to paper, they didn’t rely on a spell-check and did it entirely manually. You can’t multitask while writing, the sender had to stop what they were doing and focus fully on the writing of the message. And that creates a lot of perceived value because we all value time in an increasingly busy world. That isn’t just the contents either, people are significantly more likely to open an envelope that is handwritten than one that isn’t.
With all of that perceived value created by the method of communication, the recipient pays more attention to it. They actually read it and engage with the message far more than they would if it wasn’t handwritten. The feeling of value can be amplified further if the message is a simple note of gratitude, civility, or appreciation and there isn’t a sales pitch in sight.
Writing has more impact than email
If you want to create more brand loyalty and make your customers feel special, you should consider using handwriting to do so.
Think of the following scenario. You have a busy day of business meetings planned in another city and decide to fly in and out on the same day. The morning flight runs to schedule and you have a successful but very tiring day. You race back to the airport only to find that your return flight has been delayed. The airline does a great job of explaining what the issue is and keeping you informed, but a long day has just got longer and when you finally get home you are completely exhausted.
Imagine for a moment, that a few days after you have returned home that a personal handwritten letter arrives in your mailbox. Someone within the airline’s customer care team has sent you an apology card reiterating how apologetic they are and that they appreciate that you had an ever longer day because you had flown in and out on the same day.
The company could have sent the same thing by email. You may or may not have read it and your perception may or may not have been positive. But by sending something through the post the apology just got a whole lot more impactful. And your perception of their apology, the way they care about customers and the brand itself probably all grew.
This is just one of so many scenarios where a handwritten message makes sense.
Handwriting is used by successful companies
Whilst this is a made up scenario, you can find lots of stories about businesses taking the time to use handwriting to engage with their customers. We read lots of them. And we haven’t yet read about a business that uses it and isn’t successful. In fact, it seems quite the opposite. It appears that for many it is a big part of their secret sauce. It drives successful customer engagement and brand building.