Taking Care of Your Best Customers

When it comes to our customers, it’s easy for our attention to gravitate to the small minority who contact us repeatedly: the ones who love to chat about detailing, the ones who have crazy purchasing scenarios (you know, the guy who wants to dropship a gift to his brother-in-law, wants it delivered precisely on January 25th, wants a hand-written card included in it, and wants to pay for his order using 4x $25 VISA gift cards that he received from his step-grandmother for Hanukkah), and the ones who love to complain about anything/everything.

The reality is that this small subset of our customers is not at all indicative of the vast majority who shop with us and rarely contact us. Those are the customers that make our business successful. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to run the business that we run the way that we run it.

One of the ways that we try to say “Thank You” each January is to send all of our best customers from the previous year a $20 gift certificate along with an email thanking them for shopping with us. It’s just a simple way to let them know that we notice how much of their hard-earned money they’ve spent with us, and that we sincerely appreciate it.

Today I sent out this year’s emails. Here’s an example:

Detailed Image Best Customers Email

5 comments on Taking Care of Your Best Customers

  1. Rob says:

    It always surprises me how few of our customers we hear from. I’m a very nervous shopper so perhaps I just have the perception that other people are just as picky and fret minor details, but it really doesn’t seem that way and for that I am incredibly grateful!

    How did you decide who the best customers were? Revenue, profit, engagement, most-fun or something else?

    Another thing I’m constantly amazed by is how few people actually use credit and coupon codes. We’ve got coupon codes for free shipping right on the product pages for some things, but the last time one was used was August, 3-400 orders ago. Do you have the same “problem”? Do you have credit that expires having never been touched?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Good to hear from you Rob! We determine the best customers by both revenue and number of orders. Each year we run a report and then make a cutoff at a certain amount. It differs each year, but we usually find a nice even cutoff in the range of 50 – 100 customers.

      We do have gift certificates and credits that are never touched. I don’t know the numbers off hand but I’d imagine a large portion of the people with credits haven’t used them. Ironically we just brought this up in a meeting. We decided that we’re going to do an email reminder to any customers who have a credit and haven’t made a purchase recently (maybe 6 months). It will be interesting to see how many people actually come back to use the credit.

      • Rob says:

        Yeah, I’ve been a bit MIA. Expect lots of back-comments on your posts!

        Unused credit is a difficult one – it can pose some interesting accounting challenges too.

        Ideally you only want people to use the dormant credit if they’re going to spend real money in addition or become a regular customer again, but that’s probably impossible to segment, not to mention there are moral issues if they’ve paid for credit but then not derived any benefit from the expense. Do you think they know about the credit? Maybe they never opened the emails or they died or got out of detailing or something else. What about contacting people who have bought from you a few times but not recently and offer them credit in return for answering two or three questions about why they haven’t been back to understand why you might have lost them as a customer.

        • Adam McFarland says:

          Generally customers know when we give out credits. We’ll give them out to make up for a mistake on our end (wrong product, late delivery, etc and they’ve agreed to a larger credit instead of a refund/reship) or they earn them through our affiliate program. In both instances they’re aware that they’re getting them.

          The idea of having them answer WHY they didn’t use the credit is an interesting one. Hadn’t crossed my mind to be honest! I’m definitely going to mention that to my partners when we get ready to send that email.

          Looking forward to the back-to-back comments 🙂

          • Rob says:

            Ooh – that’s an interesting one! I didn’t actually mean asking why they didn’t use the credit (though do find out) – I meant find customers who haven’t purchased recently and ask them why they haven’t purchased recently and entice them back / pay them for their answers in the form of a credit.

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