Management Tactic #8: Compassion

I handwrite a lot of thank-you notes at work. Part of the reason I do so is that my printer is slow and crappy; I don’t have the patience to wait for a page to print. But the main reason is that it adds a personal touch to a world of mass mailings and junk mail. I know that whenever I get a letter in the mail that is handwritten and hand addressed, I read it. Such letters show that someone out there took the time to thank you personally instead of just running your profile through a database.

I recently bought a protective case for my Kindle (I talk about the miraculous screen so much that I figured I should protect it) from a company called Waterfield. I ordered the product at night; the next morning, shortly after I received the automated order confirmation, I had this e-mail sitting in my inbox:

Subject: On the way…

Hi Jamey,

Thanks very much. I just want to let you know that your order (#73609) will ship fresh from our San Francisco factory on the evening of 21-May-2008 via US Priority Mail. Your delivery confirmation number is 9101148008600551933202 and you will eventually be able to track your order at It’s important to note that you won’t actually be able to track your package with US Priority Mail until after it has been delivered… about 2-4 business days.

How did you happen to bump into our site? If there’s anything else I can do for you, just let me know.

Best regards,


How cool is that?! Given, this is probably a form letter merged with my order information. But it feels extremely personal, so much so that I replied to Gary to tell him how I found out about Waterfield (this guy’s blog). I don’t know if he’ll use that data, but at least he has that choice now. I mean, how often have you communicated with a company like that via e-mail? It was such a breath of fresh air.

Better yet, when I received the package in the mail a few days later, there was a short handwritten note jotted by a different Waterfield employee on the shipping form. I’ve since thrown it away, but it was something along the lines of “Thanks for the order, Jamey!” Handwritten! Probably by somebody in a warehouse!

I really respect companies that go the extra mile to make you feel cared for. Although I’m not often in need of cases for electronics, if I am in the future, at the very least I’ll think of Waterfield before any other company.