New Customer Welcome Programs
Charles Gay, president of Alcone Beauty, a marketer of professional beauty products available to non-professionals, reports that Alcone Beauty thanks its new customers, continuity or otherwise. In one-shot new customer orders, Alcone delivers a special thank-you letter as well as two or three promotional coupons for other one-shot items. In Alcone's continuity and auto-replenishment club programs, the firm ensures the promotions coupons included are the best deals possible. It also encloses a free, unannounced gift to add an element of "surprise and delight" for the customer. Regarding the results of the promotional coupons included, Gay says, "They're a definite little revenue booster."
In a similar vein, Sara Lee Direct offers $4.95 flat shipping for a second order to every new customer to its One Hanes Place catalog.
Get in on the Welcome Act
So what if you don't already have a new customer welcome program? What should you include as part of your program? Here's a run-down of the possibilities you may want to consider and the benefits to each:
1. Thank you/welcome letter.
- This is a must, and a prelude to anything you do to court first-time buyers. The letter should be written by someone whose identity matters to your customer. This may be your president or your head of customer service. Make sure the tone of the letter is appreciative—e.g., delighted the new customer chose to purchase from you. You also may want to incorporate some basics of how to interact with your company (methods of purchase, how to make a return, customer service hours, etc.). These steps can go a long way to setting proper expectations and eliminating customer frustration later.
- Consider whether you want to use preprinted generic letters or personalized letters. As you might imagine, new customers pay more attention to personalized letters. You may save money by creating a letter/invoice combination form that enables you to have a personalized thank-you/welcome letter for limited incremental expense.