in touch with past customers is a little like flossing your teeth:
we all know it is important, but most of us dont do it often
As a result,
we spend too much time chasing after new customers and not enough
time making repeat sales.
on which study you believe, acquiring new customers is anywhere
from seven to twenty times more expensive than retaining existing
customers. At the same time, there are more competitors then ever
trying to take your existing customers away.
and Phone Visits
visits are the best customer retention tool because nothing beats
personal relationships. However, it is impossible for some companies
to visit their customers in person. Others simply cannot afford
more than one or two personal visits per year.
also work well, but many companies simply have too many customers
to stay in touch regularly by phone. In addition, it is more difficult
to reach people in this age of voice mail.
to Use Email
you probably have a great customer retention tool on your computer
right now - email. Used correctly and responsibly, email is a wonderful
way to stay in touch with past customers personally and unobtrusively
at a relatively low cost.
Email is not
a substitute for personal visits or phone calls, but is a great
tool to supplement other customer retention methods.
are some ways to use email effectively:
you close a sale with a customer, explain that your company sometimes
sends out useful information about your products and services via
email. Ask permission to include the new customer on your distribution
list. You will need to explain how you will and will not use that
If the customer
agrees, collect the email address and add it to your database.
personal email a few days or weeks after a sale can keep your company
"front of mind." Inquire about satisfaction, and give
pertinent information such as warranty details, service phone numbers,
or the name of the person to contact in case problems occur.
email newsletter is simply a newsletter sent via email rather than
on paper. Some contain links to articles on the companys web
site, while others include very brief articles on relevant topics.
content for an email newsletter are:
- News about
and new products of interest to customers
- Links to
useful articles on other web sites
a clothing store might include articles about the best ways to
launder certain types of fabrics, results of a national survey
about fashion trends and the new line of designer suits just added
to the shelves.
of an email newsletter is that it is basically free to create
and distribute. However, it should only be sent to those who have
expressed interest in receiving it. Otherwise, its just
another form of unwanted commercial email known commonly as "spam."
a mortgage lender, and rates have just dropped two points. Maybe
youre a computer retailer looking to unload 15 laptops quickly
at a great price. A flash email might be the right tool.
A flash email
is simply an email message about a topic of importance that is
sent to a large group of people at the same time. Because a flash
email emphasizes quickness and urgency, it needs to be on a topic
of real interest.
The fact that
youve reduced prices 5% for a Presidents Day Sale
is not a good topic for a flash email, unless you want
everyone to immediately delete all future messages from you.
Not to Use Email
all great tools, email is often abused by the unscrupulous. If you
plan to use email successfully and morally, be sure to follow these
- Consumers do not like to receive unsolicited
commercial email about products or services they do not want.
Instead, you should ask permission to send information. Receiving
permission means you arent wasting anyones time, and
your messages will be noticed and read when they arrive.
- Technology makes it possible for companies to
sell demographic and email addresses to other companies. Increasingly,
consumers are saying they do not want this information shared
or sold to other companies and laws are being passed.
know that retaining customers is important, but many of us do
a poor job. Used correctly, email can help you stay in touch with
customers and generate more repeat business and referrals. Its
not a substitute for personal contact, but it can be a fantastic
addition to your customer retention efforts.