Never Say Thanks

A friend in the community space asked me a great question this morning, and I realized I have never written about this.

Why do you say, “A community manager should never use the word, ‘thanks'”?

In my experience, when someone reaches out to a company, they are most often already in a place where they feel unheard or misunderstood. So, when they read your text based reply (where it is very difficult to express tone and emotion), their baseline assumption is that you will be dismissive or annoyed. So, in that context, it is almost impossible not to hear ‘thanks’ as “ugh, yeah, thanks a lot, whatever” but it is much harder to hear ‘thank you’ as anything but “I thank you for your question/idea/input”.

It might just be stupid semantics. But, it is one of those little rules I live by for the sake of the other.

Do you have any little rules like that?

  • Nicely put. I would extend this to anyone contacting a customer.
    Some of my rules (not all limited to community):
    – You can’t G-E-T unless you A-S-K
    – Apologies have four parts: Acknowledge the wrong from their perspective; apologize without conditions (no “if”s or “may”s); explain exactly how you will avoid the wrong in the future; follow through by never doing it again.
    – When writing to customers and community members always write with the assumption that it will be passed around.
    – Don’t talk about community members to other community members. (see above)
    – “How can I help you?” and “Can you help me?” are two of the best trust building phrases I have ever learned.

    Okay, I should stop.

    • Great tips Scott! I feel like G E T and A S K are supposed to be acronyms for some reason. =)

    • I can’t seem to reply to you, so I”l just write it here. No acronyms. I had a coworker from the South who would spell it out like that. It’s almost lyrical that way. 🙂

  • Don’t use the same phrases too much or they’ll lose meaning to you and your customers. Try on “Hey, you rock for sending this” for a reply of two. It’s quite refreshing!

  • Heather George

    While I have my own preference for openings or closings, I find that I prefer to respond to requests following the style of the sender.  Did they say Dear ___;  did they use a comma, or colon afterward? For a closing, should it be thank you, sincerely, best, best wishes…depending on their style one versus another could seem genuine or could seem dismissive or worse, terminate interaction.  The only exception is if their initial request lacks an opening salutation and/or closing.  Then I make a judgement call and hope that my interpretation and sincerity is effectively conveyed.