I’m going to share with you today an experience that I had some years ago with one of my clients in regards to how to get their customers coming back more often?! It’s said that it’s six times easier to get an existing customer to buy again than it is to get a new one. You see even the biggest of corporations spending a huge amount of time and resources trying to get new customers and not looking after their existing customer database. I think it’s really important that you understand the benefits of rewarding and recognizing your current customers and getting them to re-engage with you.
Now this experience I had was with a client of mine who was in a remedial massage therapy business. Quite a lot of their customers were people that had come in for remedial therapy and then that’s it. Once it’s over, the insurance would stop paying for it, and they wouldn’t get their customers back because that was it, the insurance stopped paying for it.
Gathering the Database
So we started to really market to another part of the business, relaxation. So massage for relaxation and other relaxation techniques, etc. I said to my client, ‘Do you have a database of past clients?’ Now because of the nature of the business, that particular client had collected a database of not only all the past customers, but what it was that they had done. Why were they in there, what was the treatment for, what was wrong with them. And that sort of then carried across into the other side of their business, which was the relaxation side. So they had a huge database of people there!
The fear of reconnecting with a dormant database
Now these people had not communicated with them, some of them for over five or six years. I said, ‘The easiest way to get a customer to come back is to ask them. So let’s start writing letters to these people saying, “Hey we miss you. Why haven’t we heard from you and how can we get you to come back in?” And surprisingly, I remember the owner of the business questioning this going, ‘Ben, these people haven’t been here for six years, and we’re going to send them a letter? Really? They’re going to respond to this?’
Surprisingly the amount of people we had respond was amazing! Not only did they respond, but we had people saying, ‘We’ve been meaning to talk to you.’ This has been six years. They were responding saying, ‘I’m so glad you wrote to me because I was meaning to contact you to come in for another massage or something.’ So it just goes to show you, even if you haven’t spoken to your database in a long time, that you can really ignite their relationship with you by writing to them.
If you don’t collect details you’re an idiot!
The second part that I want to really reiterate with you, if you’re not collecting details, a database of your current customers, then you’re an idiot. I know that sounds harsh, but you deserve not to have a great business, it’s pretty simple. If you’re going to have a great business, you need to keep a database of every person that deals with you. I know some of you may be offended by that, but it’s reality. Think about it. The greatest, most successful businesses these days are staring to collect a database.
I scratch my head with confusion when I see businesses like Bunnings for example, not getting your name and details. It’s so simple. Some businesses, it’s a requirement to get the details of every single customer, legally you might need the details. In the businesses where it’s not… I know some of you are going, ‘But Ben, it’s too hard.’ Well work it out! Stop crying and carrying on that it’s too hard and make it happen. Run a competition. Just ask for their details for goodness sakes. I had a client who had a cafe, and we ran a campaign to get a free cup of coffee. The way you got your free cup of coffee was to give us your details.
People will give you their details if you ask for them, and you give them an incentive.
Hopefully you now know the importance of building a database
Hopefully you’ve seen the importance of doing that now. Because if you don’t have your past customers to write to, then you’re never going to get them back, you’ll never have control over getting them back. You just have to hope they’ll come back. And really, that’s not a clever way to run your business at all. I think I’ve made that point pretty clear.
Get a database together. Write to your current customers, write to your past customers. Tell them to come back!
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.