The Internet has become a primary transactional channel for a wide variety of transactions for me. E-mail continues to become more important in the critical, essential dialogues I have with merchants and information providers. How I'm treated online and the quality of the dialogue between the merchant and me are critical to my level of customer satisfaction and a key determining factor as to whether I will "see you again."

These days, e-mail's CPM (define) rates are less than a grande coffee at Starbucks, and access to triggered-based technology typically no longer falls victim to IT implementation problems. There's no reason saying "thank you" shouldn't be a key part of your overall strategy. If you don't take care of me, do you really think I'll continue to purchase from you in this age of limitless options for every transaction I can dream up?

A merchant that gets a gold star for saying "thank you" in a sincere, Brooklyn kind of way is CoatRacks.com. I was in the market for one of those industrial-strength coat racks (the closets in the DiGuido household could no longer handle the fashion overload of certain members) and searched on "coat racks." I purchased a great rack from CoatRacks. It was delivered on time, and two days later I got an e-mail from the CEO sincerely extending his appreciation for my business. The e-mail was personalized with references to the specific product I purchased, had a photo of the CEO, and was signed. This wasn't one of those generic "thanks for your business whoever you are" messages.

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