Keeping accurate track of where your new customers come from is extremely valuable! Advertising is expensive. When a business advertises, through any method, they must keep track of how many new customers come in as a result. If you don’t keep track, then you’ll never know if your advertising is actually working.
Guessing about how to spend your money on advertising is not the right way to go! Your business MUST have a simple and accurate method to discover where your new customer, clients or patients come from.
Every business if different, some businesses have customers come in to purchase services, others do their business on-line. A dentist’s office, an auto repair shop, a restaurant all interact with their customers in a slightly different way. So there is not one system for collecting this information.
However here are a few ideas on which you base your system for tracking new customers:
First is to create a simple log sheet, either on a clip board or in the computer that is easy to access where you can quickly mark down how a new customer heard about you.
Here is a simple example:
NEW CUSTOMER TRACKING SHEET
|Date call received||Val Pak||Drive by or banner||Yellow pages||Web Site||ReferralFrom who?||Other||Customer Name|
The chart for your business would of course have the headings applicable to your business and marketing actions. Note the section on Referrals: If the customer says they were referred in, you should ask WHO referred them and note that persons name in this box. If you ask a new customer WHO referred them in they may ask “Why are you asking?”, and the answer is: “We always send a gift to anyone who refers new customers to our business.”
If your business receives phone calls from prospective customers then at some point the receptionist can ask the customer some variant of the question: When was the last time you visited us? If the customer says that this will be their first visit/purchase, then the next question is: That’s great! How did you hear about us?
The same basic system applies when a customer comes into the store, shop or clinic. The receptionist interacts and establishes if the person is new to the business, and if they are there for the first time, asks the “How did you hear about us” question.
In my experience the staff who deal with new customers will have to trained, drilled and reminded many, many times before they start to do this each and every time. The point is: don’t give up on collecting this info just because people tend to forget to ask: just keep reminding and insisting until they DO always ask!
Another important tip to gain support from the staff about diligently gathering this data is to simply explain in great detail WHY it is important.
Most software applications have a way to track how many new customers come in during a given time period. This will show you how many new customers you got, but not where they came from. But you can use this number to compare to the NCTL and see if there are more new customers reported than there are on the NCTL. This gives you some way to check the veracity of the NCTL. You should periodically check this number against the number of customers logged on the New Customer Tracking Chart to see how many (if any) are missed.
Any business that uses a web site to contact customers can easily have fields on their forms asking how you heard about us.
Once you have an accurate system to track where your new customers come from you will know how many referrals you are getting, and WHO is referring these new customers in to your business.
When one of your customers refers new customers in to see you they are showing how much they appreciate you and your business. Rewarding your customers for referring new business to you is an effective and real way to show your appreciation back.
Here are a few simple ways to reward your customers who have referred in a new customer:
- Determine a dollar value for the reward and then simply credit this amount of the customer who referred new business to you. If you use this method you MUST send a letter to the referring customer thanking them for the referral AND telling them how much you have credited to their account.
- Purchase gift cards and mail them with a thank you letter to the customers who refer in new business. The gift cards can be Starbucks, Target, a movie theater or local restaurant. People LOVE gift cards and no matter if it is for $5 or $10 dollars, they will use them and think of you!
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