The thank you note.

Thank you notes are a somewhat tricky thing. While I am no etiquette consultant, I do know roughly what a thank you note should consist of in a business situation. Clients, co-workers, employees, etc. may to you or your company as a holiday gift, a “good job” thanks, or whatever. In the companies I have worked with, it isn’t terribly common, but it does happen.

If someone takes the time to send you something, something you have to do is thank them for it. Though they may not send it in order to get the thank you card, it is certainly nice to hear that you appreciate their time, money, and effort. Sending fits, quite frankly, is a pain and anyone who sends them probably puts some amount of effort into it.

Some things that a thank you note should include:

  • Personalized greeting (Dear Bob Bobsen, Hi Betty!, etc.). Including the last name is arguable. I personally think it makes the greeting less personalized.
  • Optional: Acknowledge you received the gift (and approximately when).
  • The words thank you or thanks.
  • An acknowledgement about what the gift was.
  • An extra bit about the gift to make it more personalized.
  • A sentence related to the occasion (i. e. Happy Holidays, We are glad you are a client, etc.).
  • A relatively informal closing.

Here is an example. Say my client (who we will call <CLIENT>) sent me a nice box of chocolates for Christmas.

Dear <CLIENT>,

I received your gift yesterday and wanted to extend my gratitude to you for sending it. I really like chocolate (<brand of the box I was sent> is actually my favorite type!) and am sure I will enjoy this box of them. Thank you so much for sending it!

I wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday.

Yours truly,

Many people believe a thank you note should be handwritten and sent over the mail. I am kind of down the middle with this. Personally, I have extremely bad hand writing and I imagine trying to read the note would frustrate the person. I am personally for sending it via the usual methods of communication (i. e. email). It is definitely nice to send handwritten thank you note, assuming both options are available to you (good handwriting and the physical address of the sender).

This template has worked relatively well for me. It isn’t foolproof and it isn’t what the etiquette book I own suggests (I don’t have the book with me right now, but I will talk about what it says this week), but it certainly works.

Whatever you do, just make sure to send a thank you note! Even you don’t like the gift, thank the person for their time and effort (do not tell them your thoughts, unless positive, about the gift). Send the note within 24 hours of receiving whatever the person sends you and remember to be sincere.

3 Responses to “The thank you note.”

  1. Service Untitled » Five W’s of Thank You Notes for Co-workers - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Oct 19, 07 at 4:47 pm

    […] One of the search queries that someone typed in recently was “thank you notes for co-workers.” I’ve talked about thank you notes for customers (including samples and what to do if you have bad handwriting), but I don’t think I have ever mentioned what a good idea it is to send thank you notes to co-workers. […]

  2. Julie said:

    Mar 22, 08 at 3:19 pm

    I have a question…I sent a customer a generous gift certificate this year for business they awarede me. I was surprised not to have received thank you note from this person considering the generous gift I sent her.

    Am I wrong in thinking she should have sent me a thank you note because she is my customer?

    Curious at to the correct protocol on this. I know I always send thank you notes regardless of who it is. A gift in my opinion should be acknowledged with a thank you card I feel.


  3. Service Untitled said:

    Mar 22, 08 at 5:15 pm


    There are lower expectations for customers. I don’t think it is commonplace for customers to send thank you notes for gifts. It depends on how large your company is / what sort of relationship you have with the customer.