Research has shown that it costs businesses 5 times more to gain new customers than it does to keep existing customers. Why? Because you already have a relationship with your existing customer and most of the selling job has already been done.
This doesn’t mean you should lose focus on winning new business. There needs to be a well-planned ratio in your customer acquisition vs customer retention strategy.
One factor that plays an important role in both strategies is data capture. No, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and imprison the pale robot guy from Star Trek (apologies to all non-Trekkies out there – it’s a (poor) joke that only us nerdy Star Trek fans will get), it means that you need to capture as much customer information as you can.
You will have a number of opportunities to do this. Whether your customer buys from you face to face, over the phone, online, by post or any other means, you have the opportunity to ask them if you can send them more information. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Here are a few ways you can do this:
1) Set up an email newsletter sign up box on your website and divert your customer’s attention to it
2) Make asking them if they want to receive additional information a vital part of your post-sales courtesy call
3) Use mail opportunities such as invoicing to add a request form. Make it easy for customers to reply by adding a self-addressed envelope with a pre-paid stamp and a simple form that they can tick/ fill in and send back
4) Give incentives for customers to give their data e.g. offer a discount on their next purchase or something free
As long as the information you are sending is interesting, relevant and non-intrusive, you’ll be building your brand, raising awareness, developing a customer relationship and increasing your chances of repeat purchases.
However, be warned; there is a lot of red tape around this subject so make sure you’re staying in the boundaries of the dreaded GDPR i.e. make sure you have the customer’s permission to keep their details and send information!
As long as you abide to the rules, data capture can play a crucial part in the growth of your business. After all, a major business rule is know your customers. When you get to know your customers you need to have somewhere to store the information. A database would be that place. This would also be the tool that you would use to segment your market.
How are you capturing your customer data and are you using it to its full potential?