Repeat Customers and Business Contacts are Human
Your customers, whether they are retail shoppers or representatives of other businesses appreciate being remembered. Retail shoppers prefer to be treated as humans. Not treated as just wallet or purse carriers! The best way to convert these one-off customers into repeat customers is to remember personal details about them, in particular, their name. And representatives of other businesses, even though they are simply doing their job, are also people and like to make a connection on a human level. Remembering any detail, especially their names, will help make these contacts into trusted business connections. Just like with making a face to face sale you need to develop a relationship with the customer or business representative.
When you send a newsletter or any sort of written correspondence to your retail customers they are more likely to read it and not throw it straight in the bin if you address it to them personally rather than, “Dear Customer”. Further, if you refer to them by name in the body of the correspondence your chances of making them a repeat customer will most certainly improve. This is only the tip of the iceberg. To further improve your relationship with your customers you can also store customer details such as the customer’s date of birth in the customer database so you can send them a promotional birthday voucher or whatever you wish. What you decide to store in the customer database is not in any way limited by the computer. You can literally store anything and everything you want! However, with retail customers there are three points to consider. 1) you must keep a hard copy of the customer’s consent to collect their details. 2) no sensible customer is going to disclose their personal details without getting something in return so be prepared to return the favour. 3) you can’t use all the data you collect with all customers. For example, if you collected data from two different customers and through conversations with each you deduce that they are related. Discussing the conversations of one with the other is definitely not advisable!
Technically, representatives of businesses you deal with can’t be converted into repeat customers. However, you will have to deal with them on multiple occasions. In the same way as dealing with customers, remembering details about these representatives will “lubricate the wheels of business”. So clearly even if your business is dealing with other businesses it will pay to develop and maintain a detailed database storing data about the people you are interfacing with on a daily basis.