How to Hook and Keep Gold Customers
Back to the example of the baby-products buyer: If you saw that that one-time buyer actually was buying a significant amount of baby merchandise from your competitors, wouldn’t you treat her differently in your contact and customer service strategies?
Ford notes with consternation in his voice that while catalogers will measure and question every action they take, they still will blindly order batched data processing done, perhaps, only quarterly. “Catalogers should ask every single time they mail, ‘How sure am I that this promotion will reach those people who’ve shown an affinity for my products?’”
Housefile hygiene, he continues, is crucially important to effectively maintain contact with buyers. When CognitiveDATA looks at a catalog client’s non-traceable sales, about 20 percent are because the customer got married and changed her last name. “But if your database isn’t updated regularly — that is, every time you mail — that information won’t be known by you for awhile,” says Ford.
Also, if the address of one of your multibuyers suddenly is flagged as undeliverable, Ford recommends you call or e-mail those customers to verify if they’ve moved, or — as is more likely — there were data-entry errors in your contact center the last time those customers ordered from you. Ford says that among his catalog clients who call multibuyers to check on undeliverable addresses, “they report that 30 percent to 40 percent of customers will respond to the contact and give a correct mailing address. Often customers say: ‘I don’t know what happened. I want your catalog. Here’s my correct address.’”
This tactic is especially crucial to retain economically active individuals, says Ford. He estimates there are 60 million to 70 million Americans with significant discretionary income and spending habits and who, in turn, get the lion’s share of the catalogs mailed each year in the United States. “If you lose contact with a portion of those economically active people,” says Ford, “they simply will buy from someone else.”