• Tony

When personal really means personal

The single most effective way of getting a lapsed customer to return to buying from you.

Yesterday I had a personal note from the owner of a dance club that I used to frequent, but haven't been to for a while.

And I mean a personal note - not a machine generated, "we'd like to encourage you back so here's a three for the price of two offer", sort of thing. This was written by an individual, to me.

The writer simply wanted to know if I was ok, and to make sure my absence wasn't caused by anything that had gone wrong at the club. There was no sales offer, just a note of genuine interest and concern.

I returned to regular dancing after a long gap about 15 years ago, and this is the first time EVER a club has actually written to me personally to check all is well. I was completely overcome, and of course as a result I am going back there this coming weekend. I wasn’t planning to, but how could I resist?

Of course, it isn’t possible to write to each lapsed customer individually, and indeed the reality is that most companies don’t write to lapsed customers at all. But if one is doing this, it is best not to pretend this is an individual email or letter, when it is patently obvious that it is nothing of the kind.

If you are going to invite someone to buy from you again, and you want it to look personal then write personally. Really personally, not machine personally. Really, really personally.

Of course people say, “I don’t have the time to write to each lapsed customer personally, that’s stupid.” But that’s not my point. Really personal letters can have an impact 1000 times as great as mail merged pieces. So just sending out one a week can be worthwhile.

And when you do, ensure that there is something really personal that makes the reader know you really were thinking about the individual.

You’ll be amazed how much difference it makes to the response rates.

Tony Attwood


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