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August 31, 2011

Don’t Introduce Yourself to Existing Customers

by Marketing Made Easy

Existing customers are worth their weight in gold.  Imagine how an existing customer would feel when you send them an invitation to sample your product or service and become a new customer.

My birthday was just around the corner and I was preparing to catch up with my girlfriends.  We were all meeting before dinner at my newly found beauty salon for a group facial.   A few days before our special group appointment, I received an invitation from my beauty salon.

This invitation was intended for a new customer not an existing customer.  They were inviting me to ‘experience’ the difference with a 50% discount on a facial!!!  Annoyed with the mistake, I thought I could turn the negative into a positive.  I contacted the salon and explained I was an existing customer and asked if the discount could be used on my birthday facial.

I received the wrong answer.  Not only did I cancel the group booking, I never returned!  This experience cost that business much more than the cancellation of six facials.  Of course I told my friends and they told their friends and so on and so forth…

Mistakes like this unnecessarily alienate otherwise happy customers and in my case I left and went into the arms of their competitor.  I expect that when I regularly frequent a businesses, they’ll at the least remember my name!

Retail is in trouble.  According to SBS Insight The Big Sell, “Australians are spending less and retail figures are at their lowest levels in fifty years.   Some stores are closing their doors.”  This is not a good time to forget who your existing customers are.

Your best defence is a double-barrelled offence.  Combine meticulous database management with a solid content strategy.  Common sense prevails.  Now more than ever, you should not only be remembering your customer’s names, you should be offering components like these:

  • Exclusive customer only offers and news.  According to Splash Group 87% of women say getting the best price is the most important factor when shopping.  Offering customers a special discount or an invitation to a pre-product or service launch party is a great way to make them feel appreciated.
  • Acknowledge milestones. When you celebrate a customer’s birthday, or the anniversary of their first purchase, it reiterates that you value them.
  • Handwritten cards of congratulation.  Handwritten notes or cards congratulating a customer on the birth of a child, job promotion, or recent nuptials go a long way to secure the relationship.
  • Give customers a voice.  People like to be heard.  Create a two-way conversation, you are personalising your brand and making it one that can be trusted.  This enables you to hear concerns and or interests.
  • Create and emotional connection.  Making an emotional connection is one of the best ways to motivate customers, particularly women, to use your brand or service.  Something that ignites a reaction like “Wow, that’s me!” will encourage customers not only to respond to your messages, but actually remember them.

 

  • Random letters of appreciation.  Send a note of thanks with something fun that can fit in a standard size envelop, like a lollipop once a year to let them know you appreciate their loyalty.

 

Treating an existing customer like a stranger might send them running to the competition.  Make sure your customers feel special. Let them know, you know who they are!

Author: Peta Di Palma

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