If you’re like most companies, you have customer data in many places, but these communications are siloed. Each department or business unit does its own thing, so end users get bombarded with different, disconnected mail pieces. This not only wastes your marketing dollars, but it can irritate your customers too. Closing the loop on your inbound and outbound mail can result in benefits you don’t want to miss.
Here are some risks to disconnected data:
- Reduced customer satisfaction. Every time mail gets lost or delayed, every time a mail piece arrives with the wrong or outdated name, or every time you offer to sell a long-term customer a product they already own, you risk alienating that customer.
- Elevated costs. The average cost of every piece of returned mail is $4. This is not just the postage and printing. It’s the cost of the piece coming back to you, the cost of figuring out what went wrong, and the cost of taking the time necessary to fix it.
- Lost sales. How many marketing opportunities are being lost because data on customers’ preferences and behavior are siloed in different departments? That translates into lost revenue.
What’s the solution? Let’s look at five steps commonly discussed in the mail industry for closing the loop on the document lifecycle.
- Connect inbound mail to outbound mail - Build in tracking mechanisms that allow your clients to connect the incoming to outgoing mail. This is as simple as adding a barcode unique to each participant. When the response envelope comes in, the barcode is scanned. This connects the incoming mail to the outbound file, linking the customer information together.
- Centralize data capture - Centralize all of the mail processing in one location. Capture mail coming in from marketing, sales, customer service, Web forms, and anywhere else in your company.
- Get the data out of there! - Your mail contains lots of important details that can be useful to your print marketing. Extract all the data you can, including names, addresses, channel preferences, transaction history, and data from customer surveys. Input it into a centralized database that can be accessed throughout the organization. This way, no matter which department accesses the database, they get a 360-degree view of the customer and the most current information.
- Look and learn - Assign someone with a strong marketing and data background to look at your database to understand what it is telling you. Contained in there are critical nuggets about customer behavior, channel preferences, and more. Need help? We can recommend third-party services that will do data analysis and profiling for a reasonable cost.
- Put it to use! - With a closed loop on your mail communications and a centralized, up-to-date database accessible by all departments, you have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal. Take what you can learn and use it to improve your targeted and personalized direct mail marketing or other customer communications.