A Golden Opportunity To Say Thank You

I come from a very creative family. My sister and both my brothers are incredibly artistic. I can’t draw to save my life. Sometimes I get jealous because they can create such amazing artwork; that is, until I start thinking about my own favorite hobby.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield

I am a passionate collector of points and miles. I adore it. It’s fun, stimulating and can be very rewarding. I will admit that I’m hooked enough that I even attend conventions for people like me who enjoy the points and miles hobby.

But I digress. What got me thinking about that was an email I just received from Starwood. I’ve reached gold member status for 2014 and along with the benefits they sent an email that instructed me to print out the enclosed “Thank You” certificates.

Here’s the fun part: The certificates are not for me to use, they are for me to give out to exceptional Starwood employees. Starwood isn’t the only company I receive them from; I get them from Delta, too.

I think this a great dual-purpose marketing idea. Starwood is reminding me that I am special to them. Because I am special, they want to reward me. One of the ways they reward me is by giving me clout.



These little pieces of paper that I can hand out to people for doing a great job don’t just make me feel special, they also are designed to make the recipient feel special. The certificates each have a unique code so they can’t be copied and the employee may redeem them for Starpoints. Starwood is pretty stingy about giving them out. I usually only get four at renewal time, which is once a year. As far as I’m concerned, that makes them more valuable all the way around.

Shifting gears back to O&P, I think this might be an easy program to implement at a patient care facility. It would need to be modified so you don’t have to award Starpoints or find a company to track and manage the creation and redemption of the certificates, but what a great way to actively foster a customer centric environment.

A practice would have to put some thought into implementing a thank-you program like this. Who would be eligible? All staff? Everyone but the clinical staff? Hourly employees only? What could the certificates be redeemed for, and how would the rewards be funded, if applicable? In other words, these thank you certificates could function similarly to gift certificates that can be redeemed for merchandise, entertainment or travel. You might even be able to use your own mileage points to support an employee thank you program.

If not a Starwood-type thank you program, what do you use to motivate your employees to consistently provide reward-worthy customer service? Email me and let me know.

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