For the last several weeks, we have shared pre-direct mailing tips with you. This week, we’ve changed the focus! We’d like to share 3 important post mailing tips, which focus on your frontline staff or the staff that will most likely interact with customers or prospective customers that respond to your direct mailing. Support your advertising effort with staff that is ready to talk with your customers!
Inform your frontline staff about your direct mailing campaign. Provide them with the following information:
- The date your direct mailing was sent out and when it is likely to be received. (We can help you estimate this AND we offer a mail tracking service).
- Explain the service or product being promoted and any special discounts being offered. If an expiration date is involved, make sure all staff know this date.
- Develop a Q&A sheet that highlights the questions most likely to be asked.
- Train your staff to collect information on how the customer heard about the service or product promotional offering. This will help you determine what advertising efforts work and calculate your ROI (Return on Investment).
- Make clear what is the “next step” after the customer inquiry. This includes a wide variety of actions, such as mailing or emailing additional information, scheduling a service or sales call or placing an order.
Educate your staff on what additional information or actions are needed from the customer or prospective customer.
Often times a direct mail piece initiates the customer conversation. Additional information may be needed to either proceed to the next step or to continue the conversation for an “up sell” opportunity. Will or should your frontline staff need to obtain the following:
- Phone number, possibly a mobile phone number
- Email address
- Preferred method of communication (email or phone)
- Opt-in to emailed communications (ex. company newsletter). Opt-in refers to asking the customer their permission to send them additional and/or regular information about your products and services, plus special offerings.
- Update any contact information currently on file. This could include product or service level data.
- This list could be endless. My suggestion is to limit the list to 3 to 5 “next step” items that will take less than 3 minutes to obtain.
Instruct your frontline staff on how to graciously handle the direct mail respondent that has a complaint.
These points are based on experiences we’ve had helping our customers answer these questions or respond to these requests:
- How did you get my name and address? If you’re using an “in-house” list, then respond accordingly—perhaps they did business with you in the past or had indicated an interest to. If we’ve purchased the mailing list for you, their name was selected based on known demographics. Some demographics selected make assumptions about neighborhoods/sections of cities, so a name may have been incorrectly included. Or, perhaps an error was made in assigning demographics to their name. Train your frontline staff to obtain their complete name and address. Start a “Do Not Mail To” list. This list can be used to remove these addresses from future mailing lists.
- The person listed on the address doesn’t live here anymore. Why did you mail to them? All mailing lists we purchase have been sent through the National Change of Address (NCOA) process. We also do this process for lists our customers provide, unless it is prohibited due to legal reasons. This is the best way to try and determine the most current and correct address for an individual or business. However, this process isn’t perfect and sometimes the correct forms aren’t filed with the Postal Service to allow this to happen. Train frontline staff to record this information and add it to your “Do Not Mail” list.
- Receiving multiple copies of your direct mail piece: Removing duplicates from a mailing list is a combination of science and art. Duplicate removal, or purging, is an automated process and is based on the likeliness of an address match—it is not a “human eye” process. We set purge parameters based on a customer’s request to check and compare data listed in the address file. When the purge function is performed, the software application deletes selected addresses. I’ll talk more about this process in greater length in an upcoming newsletter. Train your frontline staff to ask for complete address information on all the multiple copies, so that the purge parameters can be adjusted. Thanking the customer for reporting this is very beneficial!
Combining our pre-mailing and post mailing suggestions should really enhance your direct mailing efforts! Let us know when we can assist you with printing and mailing your next direct mailing piece.