Customer Service Fuels Improvement
Not every improvement made to a direct mail effort is about response, but the side effect of a lift in orders certainly does not hurt! For Swanson Health Products, a direct marketer of vitamins and nutritional supplements, it's too early to gauge response to a new sizing chart for capsules, tablets and softgels for its house brand products, but the main purpose of the guide is simply to reduce customer guesswork.
Swanson began including the chart in its catalogs this past spring, says Director of Marketing Maggie McCarthy, but the shelf-life of these vehicles can be months (346SWHEPR0401). For example, the effort received by the Archive is the "Complete Catalog," which gets published only three times per year.
"The idea came straight from our Customer Care department," says McCarthy. Apparently, one of the most frequently asked questions was about the size and shape of the different supplements. Swanson identified a strong customer need, and developed the chart to address these questions upfront. The benefit for the customers is accurate product information to inform their purchase decisions, while Swanson should benefit from fewer costly customer service calls, enhanced customer goodwill and possibly a boost in response.
McCarthy says the placement of the sizing chart on the back of the multi-panel order form was based on two factors: One, the order form always has been the preferred place to list customer service information; and two, every fulfilled order contains an extra order form for re-orders and impulse purchases.
She adds that while Swanson receives most of its orders by phone, many customers order by mail and would not be able to keep the sizing chart for future reference.
In addition to using the folios at the bottom of select catalog pages to promote the sizing chart, McCarthy reports that the catalog will give customers the option of going to the company Web site to download a PDF format of the chart.