Today’s customers expect—demand—more personal attention from the companies that want their business.
When mail merge first made it possible to put a customer’s name throughout a letter, making it appear a mass-mailed letter was written directly to the customer, it got attention from the recipients. Today you have to do better.
The more you know about your customers, the more you can personalize your interactions, before and after the sale. Amazon.com takes this to a new level with the personal recommendations they offer each time you visit the site. By customizing the array of books, DVDs and other products displayed, they let customers know about products they may want, encouraging them to buy things they may not have known about otherwise.
Amazon uses the customers browsing and buying history (and other input) to determine what they will show. You can gather information from your customers and prospects to make your messages to them more relevant and useful. For example, you might want to know where they live, if they have children, how they heard about your business, their occupations and income, etc., as well as past interactions they have had with your company (e.g., What products did they inquire about or buy?).
Although customers want personal attention, they may be hesitant to give you the information about themselves that makes it possible to personalize your interactions. They may be more willing to give personal information if they see how they benefit from it, so make sure they are getting something useful in return. Of course, you will also gain information about your customers when they make a purchase.
No matter how you get the information, be careful how you use it. Some people are made very uncomfortable when they feel a business knows too much about them. Make sure they know that you are not sharing their information with other parties.
A simple way to make customers feel special is to remember them on a special occasion. You might send a card and discount offer for customers’ birthdays. Or reference purchases and other interactions you’ve had with them in the past. Keep track of information about your customers by using data base or contact management software.
Make your customers feel special by offering a personal touch.