You used to value our relationship. When I lived in Atlanta, you sent me flyers before every sale. I loved flipping through the pages to see the treasures you had found for me. Are you mad because I moved? If so, would you please explain why?
I tried to let you know by submitting a change of address at one of your stores. When I didn’t receive your flyers, I filled out a form in the Asheville store. Months went by, but no flyers. I asked one of your sales associates to check on it, but she didn’t have access to the information. She suggested that I add my address to the form again.
I did because I want your flyers. I didn’t like it because I was second person to add my contact information. This meant that my personal information was in full view of everyone who visited your store until the page was full. It seems invasive and cavalier in an age where identity theft is prevalent.
Of course, you are only asking for contact information, but I want to control who has access to my email and home addresses. If that seems odd, so be it. In case you didn’t know, you need people like me more than we need you.
Your success is dependant on loyal customers. I am one. Surprisingly, it took completing your form five times (yes, you read that right), to receive your flyers. I shop at your store often. My mom goes once or twice a year, mostly when I drag her there. When you decided to move from North Asheville to Tunnel Road, you sent her an invitation to visit the new store and offered a $5 discount. I got nothing. Nada.
I stopped by your store yesterday. The old one that is being gutted at this time. There was a sign to tell me that you had moved. It was a little hurtful because I notified you in advance when I moved several years ago. After all, we live in an era of relationship marketing, email, and social media. One might think that telling the people who help you keep the lights on you are moving would be a good idea.
The real pain came from finding out that several neighbors who rarely (in some cases NEVER) visit your store received the postcard too. It was definitely an added insult to a serious injury. Maybe it hurts me more because I know how easy it is to segment a customer file. And, that mailing a $5 discount postcard usually generates a good return on investment.
I wonder if I’m the only one. Or, are there thousands of other good customers out there who are lost to poor database housekeeping? Because, you see, that’s the problem. Your process is outdated and broken. Having a signup sheet at the checkout for customers to leave their name and address was a good idea in 1960. Today, computers work much better. I understand that your point of sale system may not allow that and you’re trying to be fiscally responsible, but you’re losing money by not staying in touch with your customers. Why not test an electronic system at a few stores and then measure the return?
You’ll save on data entry time, improve the turnaround between signup and delivery, and generate more sales. I promise.
Or, you could capture telephone numbers instead of zip codes. When I check out, the cashiers always ask for my zip code. It’s useful information if you’re planning newspaper inserts or resident mailings. If you really want to target your customers, capture their telephone numbers. You can use it to get their addresses and capture activity data.
So many things allow you to stay in touch with your customers today. Some are easy and economical. I’m hoping you try some of them so it will help your business. But if you’re not willing to take a big step, please set me up to receive all of your marketing. It would be a start.
PS: If you aren’t with Tuesday Morning and you’re reading this, make sure that your customers don’t feel the same way. Invest your time and resources in making your processes and databases clean and efficient.