An essential element of keeping clients coming back to purchase more from your company is the use of a database. Depending on the size and complexity of the business, a customer retention database can be as simple as a shoebox filled with 3″ x 5″ handwritten cards or as complex as one used to keep the records of an airline’s “frequent flyer” system. A database designed for retention is not a “one size fits all” proposition. It is also much more than just a customer list. It is a customer list on steroids.
Consider a company that sells supplies to dentists and then extrapolate this information to fit your business. They have a large database that first segregates customers from prospects so they can send different promotions to each group. Additionally both customers and prospects are then segmented by the dentist’s specialty. While almost all dentists purchase products like bibs and gloves, different specialists (for instance orthodontists or oral surgeons) will purchase products exclusive to their specialty. By creating a highly segmented database, the supply company is able to target promotions to those most likely to take advantage of highly targeted offers.
The database of the dental supply firm’s customers also contains order history information that shows frequency of ordering, the items they purchase and how much they purchase of each item as well as the contact information of the person in each office responsible for placing orders.
The goal of all this list segmentation and information gathering is to promote the company’s products in the most efficient manner and with the highest probability of success. Because they know who is most likely to purchase the products advertised in each promotion, they gain a much higher return on their promotional investment.
Database management can be successful for almost every business, especially those who work hard at capturing customer information and have a disciplined approach to promoting their products and services. Start with a simple promotion and, when it proves successful, add to it by segmenting the database into your very own customer list on steroids.