Old School Ideas Can Still Work

My daughter and I were in our basement many years ago when she discovered an old typewriter. "Dad, what is this?" she said as she stared at it in awe. I explained that that was how humans communicated before the invention of computers and keyboards.

On a sheet of paper, we would type messages and thank-you cards without using spell-check. She inquired if she may have a go at it. It kept her occupied for many days.

We still talk about the old typewriter after all these years. The state of technology has changed.

We've progressed from typewriters to computers to mobile phone applications. I was recently assisting a young customer support representative with a query.

One suggestion I made was that he send a thank-you message to a client after their talk. And he did, in a way.

He didn't compose the message himself. Instead, he sent his consumer a thank-you note.

Now I'm wondering whether the text had the same effect as a handwritten – or even typed – thank-you message from the past. As a result, I decided to survey several friends and coworkers informally.

The questions I posed were:

  • Does a handwritten letter or a text have greater impact?
  • A handwritten message or an email: which has greater impact?
  • Which is more powerful: an email or a text message?

Overall, the handwritten message comes out on top. Next came email, but I was startled to learn that numerous individuals preferred texting. However, it's hardly surprising that those who favored texting were in their twenties.

This got me wondering about how much has changed in the last few years. Technology, processes, and business practices from the past have given way to a new way of conducting business.

For example, as previously said, we no longer use typewriters. Computers and applications are used by us.

Calculators are still used, but they are now embedded into our phones and PCs. Who still possesses a calculator that does nothing except add and subtract?

We used to write letters that we addressed, stamped, and sent, and although we still do, most “written” contact now takes place through email.

And, for others, texting has supplanted phone calls as the primary mode of communication.

There's nothing wrong with any of this, but let's return to the question of whether to send a handwritten thank-you card or a brief text message to your consumer. I'm not opposed to the text provided it's acceptable and executed well.

You'll have to make a decision depending on your customer's connection with you. Even if it is acceptable, what should guide your selection is what will have the most influence or significance.

I share the genuine tale of a wonderful taxi driver who sent me a thank-you card for my patronage. I was so taken with the message that I framed it and displayed it on my wall. I was unable to display a text message on my wall.

It's possible that "old school" concepts are more relevant than you believe.

Thanks to Shep Hyken at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

SQ Recommends

Copyright © 2024
Success Quarterly Ltd. company