Despite your best intentions, you missed sending out Thanksgiving cards to your customers. Heck, it's hard enough to get cards out for the Holidays. But it's still not too late to thank you customers.

Call them. Call your customers to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Period. No agendas. No sales or service push. Just wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and thank them for being your customer. Keep it short and to the point.

If you're crunched for time, do it by e-mail if you've got their e-mail addresses. But think about picking up the phone. It really doesn't take as much time as you think.

How much time does it take to call and say, "Hi, this is YOURNAME from YOURCOMPANY. I just wanted to call and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of YOURCOMPANY and to thank you for being our customer. Goodbye." Total time? Maybe, half a minute if you include dialing. Some might engage you in some chit chat. A lot of the time you're going to connect to an answering machine, where you just leave a message. Figure an average of one call every two minutes, including time for breaks. It's a lot of work, but over the course of a day, it's conceivable that one person could make 250 calls.

If you have a customer list with 1,000 people on it, you could start Tuesday afternoon with two people placing calls. Add a third on Wednesday. That's it. It's done.

Short of people? Bring in technicians who aren't on service calls and put them to work on the phone. Grab a high school student or college student who's home and would like a little extra cash. Call a temp agency if you need to. If you have 1,000 customers, it's a stretch to call every single one, but it's feasible.

Of course, if it's too much of a stretch, you can prioritize. Call your service agreement customers first. After all, they're your most loyal customers. That should pare the list down by two-thirds. When you finish with them, start on the rest. Resume after the holiday weekend. "Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Over the holiday, we were thinking about the things we were thankful for and one of them is our customers. I just wanted to call and say it. Thank you."

What's the result? First, you feel good thanking your customers. Second, it helps reinforce a customer-first position with your people. They see you demonstrating that gratefulness for and graciousness toward your customers. Third, it drives your name home with your customer base. It stands out. Have you ever gotten a call like this? Ever? If you have, odds are you remember it.

Call your customers to say thanks. Call your key vendors while you're at it. It will make you stand out. Besides, it's the right thing to do.

And to everyone reading this article, THANK YOU!!! Thanks for spreading the word by telling your friends and colleagues. Thanks for those that give me ideas and suggestions, or just plain show interest by asking questions. Thanks to those who offer words of encouragement and motivation. Thanks to those of you who are my clients in the real world, to those who have invested in "Never Lose A Customer," to those who have invited me to give speeches to their organizations and associations, and to those who are friends. I appreciate you.

Matt Michel is president of the Service Roundtable (www.ServiceRoundtable.com), an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at www.ComancheMarketing.com. You can contact him directly at matt.michel@serviceroundtable.com. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at letters@contractingbusiness.com.