With business e-mail, do you thank a contact or associate for sending you a thank you e-mail? Believe it or not many folks have relay to me that they are so pleasantly surprised to get a “thank you” that they want to thank the sender for actually having the courtesy to thank them! It appears there isn’t enough thanking going on…
The next questions is do you e-mail back “you’re welcome” when thanked? Believe it or not I get asked this all the time wondering how to react to “thank you e-mails.” These inquiries are from nice folks just wondering what is the best thing to do. Primarily because they are not sure of the expectations from the other side. The short answer? In most cases, a response is not required — or expected.
How much back and forth is required before safely assuming everyone has been thanked and welcomed enough? “You are welcome” is assumed and more a part of in-person conversations. If all you have to add to the conversation is an e-mail back with a “you’re welcome” without any additional comments, a reply is not necessary or recommended.
I get thanked all the time by kind folks who ask for my advice. They send back a line or two thanking me for taking the time to help them. There are cases when a client or associate takes their time to send their kind words my way as well. When I do reply, it’s not just with a “you are welcome”. I will e-mail stating my gratitude of them taking their time to do so, let them know how I appreciate their input and also let them know they made my day.
However, there is a point in every business thread/communication where replying is not constructive or has no value other than to repeat the obvious. I am a big proponent of taking the time to say “Thank you!” If someone has done something nice for you online, (processed your order quickly, replied promptly to a customer service request, took the time to respond to your questions, sent a Holiday gift) then a quick thank you would be nice. I never expect the “you’re welcome” reply because I know that is discretionary based on the comments, relationship and situation.
E-mail is very much about reflecting your personality in how you choose to communicate and in business, showing courtesy and gratitude is a very important to relationship building. Some folks are more chatty and friendly than others, while there are those that, unfortunately, are too curt and to the point and come off as terse or demanding. Boy, would a simple thank you soften their communications when apropos!
A little thank you can go a long way towards solidifying business partnerships and leaving a positive impression about what can be expected in future business communications. If another onliner has helped you or has done something nice on your behalf… Thank them! And if you are thanked and want to let them know how much you appreciate that, know it will be welcome and reflect positively on your business!