Best Practices Your Path to World-class Direct Marketing
Now with the Internet, customers key in their own data. It's not their job to care about data quality, they make things up, and they also can't type.
Consider emphasizing the importance of accurate information to your Web customers. Let them know that their order cannot be processed unless their personal information is accurate. Show a confirmation page, and send confirmation e-mails at both order entry and shipment.
2. Correct addresses online.
Too many marketers are only using an outside service bureau to clean their list, checking the address quality weeks after the customer interaction. Getting the name and address information correct on the initial contact is far less costly than fixing it later.
Several inexpensive address-checking software options exist that can be integrated into your Web system. There is no excuse for capturing a non-mailable address.
3. Match customers online.
Many popular Web-ordering systems simply create a new customer identity for each and every order, leaving the job of linking and merging past customer history to the "main" system.
Consider using a cookie to identify customers revisiting your Web site. Display the user name prominently ("If you're not John Miglautsch …"), so customers can see if they match their own previous identity.
4. Connect your order system and your Web site.
Make sure your data is consistent between your Web site and order processing system—part numbers, customer numbers, even processing dates have to be integrated. Too often, Web systems are cobbled together only well enough to feed data to the main system. Customers have no option to select or edit their personal information.
5. Create a club or login.
Help your channel-surfing customers reconnect with their own identity. Give them a reason—special offers, lower shipping, etc.—to register on your site. This makes connecting their Web identity to their main identity much simpler. Again, consider populating the site's identity section with information from the main system so customers can see whether the stored information is correct.