Customer Reminders – A Powerful Tool to Improve Loyalty and Sales

Reminders can be powerful personal productivity tool when used properly. On the other hand, forgetting to use them can be lead to dire consequences. Just ask anyone who has forgotten spouse’s birthday or marriage anniversary or someone who has missed the bill payment. The financial and social penalties you have to pay as a result are not trivial.
Small business owners can help customers overcome these challenges by facilitating reminders and, in the process, improve customer loyalty and sales. You can find examples of savvy businesses using reminders for these benefits if you look carefully. When I go for regular dental visit they usually set the next appointment for 6 months out. They also send me a reminder about a week in advance as the appointment approaches. Most of the car oil change locations put stickers on the windshield showing when the next oil change is due.

There are two reasons why customers love these reminders. First has to do with the human nature. We humans tend to be lazy when it comes to taking care of mundane tasks like oil change. We don’t want to be bothered by them. The other reason reminders work is because we tend to forget these things. When you have hundreds of more important items to worry about you can’t possibly remember trivial things such as marriage anniversary or spouse’s birthday (Just kidding!!) That is why businesses that help customers remember these important dates stand to gain loyal customers and improve sales. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when setting up reminders.

  1. Set up appointments when customers are on your premises. The dental appointment for next checkup is a perfect example of this. Rather than waiting to call customers at a later time why not take care of setting up the appointment when he is already there. They can always change it, if required.
  2. Send reminder phone call or email 2-3 days in advance. This goes hand in hand with the previous topic. Customers will invariably forget about the appointment especially when it is set several months in advance. That’s why it helps to send them another reminder few days in advance.
  3. Remind several times. Sometimes it may be necessary to remind customers several times before they will take action. I like the practice of asking them to confirm the appointment with a phone call or returned email when sending them the reminder. That way you know proper handshake has been completed.
  4. Make it personal. Reminders work best when they are addressed to the person responsible for taking action. I don’t consider the advertising flyer received in bulk mail along with 10 others a reminder. Instead, I recommend sending a personalized postcard with appropriate message that is addressed to the person responsible for taking action. I guarantee you the response rate will be much better with this approach.
  5. Use technology. The technology can help you considerably with setting up and sending out reminders. Use emails, automated phone calls, SMS text and other technology freely to keep the cost down and make it more productive.

What other examples of reminders have you seen businesses using? Feel free to share with fellow readers in the comments section below.

Image Courtesy:   puuikibeach

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