Thank-you notes are appropriate in the business world for a variety of reasons. After a job interview, a courteous applicant should send a thank-you note to his interviewers. On other occasions, a customer might write to a business to express appreciation for superior service. The recipient of a research grant should send a thank-you note to the foundation that is supporting her work. Those who send thank-you notes to organizations and business acquaintances show courtesy and respect.
Each job interview should generate a thank-you note. If the candidate meets with more than one interviewer -- for example a hiring manager at first and the head of a department later in the day -- he should send a note to each person. The wording in the notes shouldn't be exactly the same. The message should be warm and positive but still businesslike and there should be at least one reference to a topic that came up in the discussion. Plenty of sample post-interview thank-you notes are available on the web.
A bank officer might learn that one of her business customers has received a promotion at his company. She could take advantage of the occasion to write a note congratulating him on the promotion and, at the same time, thank him and his company for being customers of the bank. It makes a positive, lasting impression on the management of a company whenever an organization -- such as a supplier or a bank -- expresses thanks for a valuable business relationship.
Companies that sell to other businesses understand the value of profitable long-term business relationships. With other suppliers competing for the business, it's a sound customer-relations practice to send thank-you notes when opportunities arise. Appropriate times to send notes might include the birthday of a counterpart at the other company or whenever the business receives a favorable mention in the press. An occasional note with a simple congratulatory message -- one that ends with a brief expression of thanks -- lets the customer know how valuable the business relationship is to the sender.
About the Notes
There are differences of opinion about the look and the method of sending thank-you notes in a business setting. According to the Career Development Center at the University of Illinois Springfield, handwritten or typed thank-you letters sent by regular mail are still the standard method. The Center doesn't approve of emailing thank-you notes unless the time until the employer will make a hiring decision is extremely short. In such a case, the Center advises sending an email, but following up with a handwritten or typed version that can become a permanent part of the sender's file.