Thank-you notes are appropriate in today's business world for various reasons. For example, a customer might write to a business to express appreciation for superior service. The owner of a small business might write to a Small Business Development Center to thank its director for encouraging independent business initiatives in the community. The regular practice of sending thank-you notes in a business setting can enhance your company's reputation.

Appearance and Structure

Business thank-you notes should be typed on company letterhead stationery, unless you're certain that the addressee would prefer a handwritten note or an email. For the salutation, use "Dear Mr. (or Ms., Dr. or other title) (last name),". If you're on a first-name basis with the recipient, then use "Dear (first name),". See the following sections for suggestions regarding the content of thank-you notes. For the complimentary close, use the less formal "Best wishes," instead of the formal "Sincerely yours,". Sign your name in ink below the complimentary close. If you addressed the recipient by his first name, sign the note with your first name only. Similarly, if you used the recipient's full name, sign with your full name. Your full name and title should be typed below your signature.

Customer Appreciation

In the first paragraph, thank the addressee for the appropriate reason, whether it's for purchasing one of your company's products, or for being a loyal customer through the years. In the second paragraph, state how much you and your colleagues appreciate the trust the recipient has shown in your business. In the next paragraph, mention that you are looking forward to seeing or speaking with the recipient soon or at the next occasion. Customers like being singled out by firms that express appreciation for their business. Recognition like this can build customer loyalty and regular purchases in the future.

Civic Event

An event in your community might be a reason to send a thank-you note. For example, you might write to the principal of a high school to thank her for the volunteer work done by some of her students in cleaning up a nearby park that had become unsightly. Send a copy of the letter to the school board and the local news media. Begin by calling attention to the cleanup and give the date. Mention how unsightly the park was before the students spent a day there cleaning it up. In the next paragraph, say that you and everyone at your business look forward to visiting the park very soon. In addition to building goodwill in the community, this kind of thank-you letter might bring a considerable amount of free publicity to your company, which could to increased business.

Business Development

Thank-you notes are also appropriate to if a leader in your industry did something you admired, such as leading an effort to improve operational standards. Write a thank-you note to the organization letting key people know you admired what they said. Give the necessary details such as key dates and points made. In the next paragraph, mention what you liked about the effort and the proposed standards. In the last paragraph, say that you look forward to meeting with the organization at some time in the near future. A letter of this type could be the first step in establishing contacts in your industry that would be beneficial to your business.