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You Should Be Collecting Physical Customer Addresses. Here’s Why and How
The world has gone digital. If you have a client’s email address and cell phone number, you can reach them with ease. Need to send an invoice? Send it online. Have a question? Shoot them a text message or fire off an email. Need a quick meeting? Open up Zoom or just give them a call. In our instant access, online world, you can carry out all kinds of business without ever collecting a customer’s physical address.
But you should.
That’s because the physical world still has a lot to offer businesses looking to expand and grow revenues. Digital is efficient, fast, and cheap, but it isn’t personal. If you’re a customer or client, a text message isn’t a substitute for a conversation. An email from your vendor doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart. To establish a deeper, more permanent connection with your customers, you should avail yourself of an old technology that shines in the modern age — direct mail.
Direct mail — as in cards and letters? Do people still send those?
Absolutely! Now more than ever, physical communications sent to physical addresses are enormously successful at connecting with your customers. It’s their rarity that makes them so effective. When people get a handwritten, hand-addressed card in the mail, it’s unexpected. They open it regardless of who it’s from — 99% of the time!
When you have all of your clients’ physical addresses on file, everything becomes easier — holiday cards go out on time, consistent thank you cards become a possibility — deepening your customer relationships.
HOW TO COLLECT YOUR CLIENTS’ PHYSICAL ADDRESSES
Data collection isn’t difficult. Likely, you’re already doing it to some degree. Each time you add a new customer, you’re gathering their email address at a minimum. Collecting additional data points doesn’t require added effort. But it does require a bit of discipline.
Create a New Client Process
We’ll discuss existing customers in a moment. The easiest way to get collect addresses for new customers is to design a business process and apply it consistently.
Web forms are an excellent way to collect customer information. You might build one connected to your website and direct new customers there with a link in your introductory email. Program the form to collect the data you need, including a physical address, and have it plug that information directly into your CRM as a new client entry.
Automating data collection ensures that you ask every customer the same questions every time. Salespeople may forget to ask, but an automated process can’t.
Automation has an additional benefit. It removes the need for an uncomfortable conversation. Asking for personal data can be challenging in a world where privacy is at a premium. Some customers may balk at sharing any more information than they need to if asked directly. But include the questions in a boilerplate new client process, and they feel less threatening.
Getting Caught Up With Existing Customers
An automated process is more difficult to use with existing customers. Challenges arise due to client differences and inconsistencies in the way you communicate with them. But collecting physical addresses is much easier when you take a multi-pronged approach.
Start With Your Web Form
You can access the low-hanging fruit with the same web form (or email template) you created for your new client process. You’ll easily capture the people willing to share personal data if you ask.
Send an email to all of your clients explaining your need for additional information and include a link to the form. Let them know that they can ignore every field they’ve already submitted (all you need from them is their physical address.) Some percentage of your customers will comply quickly. You can get a bit more aggressive with those that don’t.
Include an Information Request With Every Communication
People are busy. Many contacts would be happy to send you the information you need but may not have the time available when your request arrives. You can work around this obstacle by reminding them frequently. Include a link to your web form every time you send an email or respond to a query online. With each contact, there’s a chance your clients’ schedule will be free enough to participate.
Work on Building Trust
You may find some stragglers that don’t get back to you, even after multiple attempts. Understand that some percentage never will. They either aren’t paying attention or aren’t concerned about receiving physical mail from you.
Those that are still willing but remain unconvinced may simply need more time with you. You may not have established sufficient rapport, and they don’t yet trust you with sensitive information. The best way to win these people over is to offer them the best service possible. Answer their questions and concerns in a timely fashion. Make them the center of your business. With time, their defenses will come down, and they’ll be willing to share more of themselves.
SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Use Snail Mail
ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR CLIENTS’ ADDRESSES, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Physical addresses are a means to an end. They allow you to send emotionally impactful, handwritten communications that elevate your customer service game. Consider these examples.
Thank New Customers For Their Business
Companies commonly send thank you emails at the start of each new business relationship, but handwritten cards are much more effective. They’re more immediate and personal, and they indicate a higher caliber of customer support.
Send Service Updates As If They Came Straight From Your Desk
When you have vital information to share, it’s critical that your customers see it. Emails get ignored while handwritten cards get opened. And their immediacy prompts action more effectively than a passive email or text message.
Ask For Feedback
It’s important to stay plugged into customer sentiment. Online surveys are a simple way to request questions and suggestions, but it can be difficult to motivate customers to peruse them. Handwritten cards are more impactful than email, generating a more significant response.
With Simply Noted, you can automate your handwritten mailings. Use our included integrations to link your CRM with our servers. Then you can add automated, handwritten thank you cards into your new client process.
Each time a new client completes your web form, populating an entry in your CRM, you can have their name and address routed to us automatically, triggering an authentic-feeling handwritten thank you card.
The same is true for every other type of campaign you might be interested in sending. We can help you design workflow automation to enable handwritten communications at multiple stages of your customer journey. Ask us about it today!
SEE ALSO: Simply Noted Makes Snail Mail Easy