Milanese
by Mark Milanese
May 20th, 2013

Nice Touch!

Every dollar of profit I ever put in my pocket came out of the wallet of a past customer. The same people who gave me income yesterday can give me revenue today and tomorrow if I keep in touch with them. If you’ve read my past blogs, you know I believe in staying in touch with my past customers. I take customer relationship management very seriously.

The easy way to keep contact with past customers is to flood inboxes with spam and mailboxes with junk, but that effort may not get the results we hoped for and can even backfire. My relations with my clients are personal. I believe an impersonal touch can do more harm than good. How can I constantly contact thousands of past customers and still keep it personal?

I recently completed a direct-mail campaign targeting 4,000 past customers. That campaign reaped the largest return on investment, the highest closure rate and the most profitable sales of any marketing effort I made this decade.

For this “Touch” campaign I populated a database with as much information about my past clients as possible, so I could personalize my message. I wrote a form letter that allowed me to insert specific data into appropriate fields. Not only is the letter addressed to “Mr. & Mrs. Jones,” it mentions the product and date of their original purchase and other pertinent information.

In the letter I thanked my client for trusting the remodeling of their home to my company. I reminded them we are still the home of “old-fashioned service” and to call me if they have a problem so I can fix it. I told them I depend on satisfied clients telling others about our service and I sincerely appreciate referrals and testimonials. I extended special privileges to them. I offered them discounts with deadlines to prompt a call to action on a variety of projects they may not have been aware I offered. I thanked them again for trusting me because I can never thank my past clients enough.

As a result of reaching out to my past clients in this way they gave me:

 Repeat business;

 New business from referred leads;

 Internet testimonials;

 Service calls to existing product; and

 Feedback to help me improve.

My suppliers, my installers and my sales and customer service departments all contributed to this campaign’s success, but that is not the main reason this campaign succeeded. Years of dedication to client care and personal service were the foundation that prompted hundreds – one in ten – of my past clients to call upon me again and refer me to others during this campaign.

Perhaps the greatest asset of a company is their customer list. Past customers are the only ones who can make a repeat purchase and provide me with testimonials, references, referrals and feedback about our performance. Every dollar earned by a company’s normal operation came from past customers.

What are you doing to reap the rewards of the excellent service you have already provided to your past customers?

How will you “reach out and touch” your past customers to prompt them to return again and refer you to others?

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