Monday, July 4, 2011

Monitor Your Thanks to Customers

Is it possible to thank your customers too much? Yes, according to researchers at University of California-Riverside, Boston College, and Southern Methodist University. In the Journal of Marketing, an article titled “Enough is Enough” describes their findings. The research findings also suggest how to avoid the risks of excess.
     Before I reveal those ways to you, let me say that as a consumer, I love being thanked by a retailer. And as a consumer psychologist, I recommend retailers thank their customers profusely and repeatedly. One of the many reasons for repeated thanks is to stay in touch with the customer.
     Jen Kubala, co-owner of Ritzy Ragz & Thingz, sets the benchmark at sending out five handwritten thank you notes each week. Jean Chai, an Ameriprise financial advisor, sends a handwritten thank you to every new customer. A while back, she wrote me, “I am well aware of the trust and confidence you have placed in me. I take this responsibility very seriously…. Thank you for making me your financial advisor.”
     So what might go wrong with these initiatives? The Riverside/Boston/Southern Methodist study assessed the repurchase behavior over a three year period by customers who were thanked repeatedly by the retailer. The researchers found that when there were too many thanks, the recipient began to see it as more of a sales pitch than as genuine appreciation. There were fewer repurchases from customers who indicated to the researchers that this tipping point had been exceeded.
     How to avoid the risks?
  • Find out which channels each consumer prefers for messages. Repurchasing dropped faster when a customer liked a personal telephone call, but was getting thanked via e-mail. For most consumers, a grammatically correct handwritten note is a welcome break from text messages. However, some prefer quick and dirty.
  • Add unpredictability. A surprise thanks comes across as more genuine than an obviously scheduled one. Researchers at Yale University and Carnegie Mellon University found that a surprise gift to commercial bank customers resulted in significantly higher deposit account balances.
  • Thank valued customers in a range of ways. Ms. Chai sends birthday greetings to her clients via e-mail or a phone call. Ms. Kubala sent me a card noting how I’d consulted with her about a “Profitability Tactics for Small Retailers” seminar I’m presenting in Turlock, California July 19.
Oh, one more thing: Have I thanked you lately for your interest in RIMtailing?

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Say Thank You, Dear
Dazzle Customers with Surprise Gifts

1 comment:

  1. I was inspired to write handwritten Thank You's to my customers when I received two from two businesses that I had purchased at this year! The handwritten Thank You's really are very rare so when they are received they are so appreciated!