In celebration of the high caliber speakers coming to the Email Evolution Conference later this week (January 23-25, 2014), this guest blog post from David Cacioppo, CEO of emfluencehighlights some of the concepts he will be presenting in a panel session with his client from Mercedes Benz of Kansas City on how a one-question custom survey took their customer service the extra mile.

If customers earn their discount, will they’ll be more likely to use it?

Last year, we worked with a client in manufacturing and retail to re-tune their bounce back email offer to first-time customers. The client recognized that getting customers to quickly come back and buy a 2nd was a critical step in increasing lifetime value. This constant drip of automation went out behind the scenes, always sending an email to new customers 7 days after they would have received their first purchase.

The great thing about automation is that it generates revenue while you’re off looking for more ways to generate revenue. This campaign, like any good automated campaign, did exactly that. The discount code associated with it showed a significant improvement in returning 2nd time buyers. Predictable, right?

Hungry for information, we started talking about tuning into what made 1st time buyers come back… or not. What was the first impression the product made and how could the manufacturer improve their product to help encourage re-purchase? So, we created a quick 5-question survey to send out to first time buyers. This would be an automated campaign, too, so instead of hitting new customers with 2 different campaigns, we integrated them.

In the integrated version, first time customers would be encouraged to offer their feedback. In exchange, they’d earn a discount off their second purchase. We didn’t require that customers fill out the survey to get the discount code. In fact, we put the code right in the email body, so they could use it without filling out the survey at all.

What we found was that more new customers used the discount code for their 2nd purchase than before we added the survey. Even though we didn’t require it, almost everyone that used the discount filled out the survey. And that, perhaps because they had now earned the discount, more customers used the discount than before.

In addition to increasing the discount redemption rate, we also garnered a lot of valuable information about the product, the brand and the buying experience from these first time buyers. We made it clear that we valued them and their opinion.

This was one simple example of how automation – that revenue-generating machine – can be stepped up a notch by adding – and asking for – a little buyer insight.

If you have any automation in place, you are probably well aware of its value. Remember to systematically check in and challenge your strategy. Could a small refinement drive a significant increase in revenues and customer loyalty?

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