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30 Best Small Companies to Watch 2020

Express gratitude and build strong business relationships through efficient, personalized and thoughtful gestures of appreciation with Thnks

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One of the prominent ways to help your business thrive is by expressing gratitude. It might get lost in the everyday hassles, but it will surely keep you distinguished in the sea of competitors. Even key professional relationships can be solidified with small acts of appreciation. Most of us consider showing emotion as a weakness, but in reality, it’s a strength that can build enduring bonds and elevate your business relationship to the next level. To not express gratitude even after you felt it is like planning meticulously for a new product line, and then not launching it. Cultivate the habit of expressing your thanks. Even a small email or handwritten note will speak volumes about your virtues.

As quoted by Rhonda Byrne, “Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things.” Similarly, Thnks enables sales and customer success teams to build stronger business relationships through gratitude. Thnks was founded in 2016 in New York City, and is now headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee. The company provides a digital gratitude platform that enables users to send thoughtful gestures of appreciation that foster better connections, save hours of time, and lead to faster business growth. Thnks is the only relationship-building platform that provides full transparency, record-keeping, and reporting, digitizing the entire process to ensure full financial and compliance control.

In Conversation with Brendan Kamm, CEO of Thnks

Q. Brendan, thank you for sitting down with us at the Silicon Review. Tell us about yourself, and how you came to found Thnks.

Thanks for having me! After graduating from Johns Hopkins, I dove full force into the world of media planning and sales. After working my way up the ranks, I found myself leading Sales and Customer Success teams in the world of technology. If it was customer-facing, I was there, and it was during those years that I truly began to understand the value of relationships in business. Thnks' founder, Larry Rubin, and I previously worked together and started discussing how we could help build those business relationships. We kept on coming back to these concepts of gratitude and appreciation. For instance, if you’re in a coffee shop and your top client walks right behind you, you’d buy their coffee for them 10/10 times. Why? Well, first, it’s just the right thing to do. A chance to say ‘thank you’ to an important client! But also because you know that gesture is going to improve that client relationship and pay itself back many times over in the long run. That idea— of gratitude and reciprocity— is really what drove us to start Thnks.

Q. Thnks has been growing each year. What are the important factors that contribute to the growth of a business?

There’s a lot that goes into growing a business, but I’d highlight two specifically: Product Fit and Customer Experience. Product fit is vital. You need to have a product that truly addresses a need that your clients have, but does so without layering on complexity. If your product doesn’t work to address a need, there’s no use for it. If it adds too much additional work for the user, it won’t be adopted. So having that fit is paramount. That said, the best products will falter if not paired with exemplary customer experience. Everything from your marketing to your sales process, support, and customer success should be smooth and seamless for your customers. Maintaining a positive, supportive, and appreciative brand experience will enable your business to build on and retain your customers who are the lifeblood of your business.

Q. You mentioned Customer Retention. What does Thnks do to improve your customer retention?

We practice what we preach and try to employ gratitude in everything that we do— and of course, use our own product to do so. Customers have enough distractions when it comes to a partnership— competitors trying to woo them away, budget constraints, tech stack complexity— but will remain loyal to your brand when they know they are valued. How do you build that value? By practicing appreciation. Did they just say how busy they were on your last call? Send them a coffee pick-me-up. Did they mention a movie they want to catch? Cover their tickets. Have a birthday coming up? A bottle of their favorite wine or liquor could be nice. These appreciation gestures are small investments in your customer relationships and will be paid back hundreds to thousands of times over throughout your customer’s lifetime.

Q. In business, people don’t always spend enough time to learn about the people on the other side of the deal. If you don’t know your client— or maybe a prospect— that well, how can someone practice gratitude like you suggest?

Good question. Every relationship, in business or otherwise, has to start somewhere. Maybe you’ve just been introduced to a new point of contact, or just cold prospected a new potential customer. It’s okay, especially in those early days, to not be hyper-personalized. No one is going to be upset to get a cup of coffee or a donation made in their name. But those gestures still help to set a foundation in your relationship that says, “Hey, I care about you.” You can also learn a lot about people just by doing some minimal research. Go on LinkedIn and see where they went to school, what brands they follow, or where in the country they are located. These pieces of info can be helpful in tailoring a more personalized gesture. As the relationship goes on, be genuine about your interest in them. Ask questions about their interests, stresses, company values, etc. Understanding what makes them unique will help you identify the right times and ways to demonstrate your gratitude.

Q. What’s next for Thnks?

We’re super excited to be opening our new headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee! The Nashville area talent and business environments are a great fit for us and our next stages of growth. We also are continuing to improve and iterate on our platform to make our customer’s lives easier. Upcoming releases such as our salesforce application and updated control settings will be hugely beneficial for our clients’ reporting and compliance needs. And of course, we’re always on the lookout to partner with businesses and individuals who want to make gratitude, empathy, and appreciation a bigger part of the business.

“People like to do business with people they like, and everyone likes someone who appreciates them.”