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How to Build Trust With Your Existing Customers

Martin Doyle September 24th, 2013 Data Quality

Build Trust With Existing Customers

When businesses plan their marketing strategy, they often focus on enticing new customers. While there’s nothing wrong with growing the customer base, it’s a good idea to work hard on retaining existing customers as well. On average, an existing customer is three times more likely to buy from you than a new prospect, making the ROI far more attractive.

Data quality is one of the core principles that will help you maintain a long-term relationship with your existing customers. By crafting a quality database and spending time on maintaining the integrity of the data, you’ll reassure your customers that you take their privacy concerns seriously. You’ll also be armed with a wealth of useful information about your customers  – information that you know is accurate and reliable.

Compile a Mailing List

If you don’t already have a list of existing customers, you can build one from the databases you already have. That might include:

  • Sales records
  • You accounts system
  • Emails and letters
  • Enquiries resulting from marketing campaigns
  • Leads from exhibitions and visitors’ books
  • Warranty database

Remember: the customer should have opted in to receive marketing information.

If you don’t have much data to go on, consider renting or buying a list. Thousands of companies specialise in maintaining up-to-date marketing lists that you can purchase. Ask yourself some key questions before you buy:

f you don’t already have a list of existing customers, you can build one from the databases you already have. That might include:

  • Is the list authentic; did the customers give their consent?
  • How did the company get the names on the list?
  • How fresh is the data; will you experience data quality problems?
  • How targeted is the data; are the individuals on the list likely to be interested in your business?
  • When did the mailing list company last check the quality of the list?
  • Is the list properly registered under the Data Protection Act?

Selling to existing customers is preferable, but a purchased list can help you to bulk out your existing list, providing the quality is high.

Building Brand Loyalty

Once you have your list, you’ll need to give your customers a reason to come back and buy from you again. In effect, you’ll be building loyalty between the customer and your brand, and that means instilling an element of trust.

Supermarkets have loyalty down to a fine art. The concept of the loyalty card is a great example: in return for the customers’ data (their name, address, shopping habits and so on), the supermarket gives a small reward. Both parties benefit, and the shopper feels an increased engagement with a brand that cares about retaining their custom. The supermarket keeps a list of its registered customers and uses data quality tools, such as deduplication software, to ensure the rewards it issues are fair and accurate.

Your own business model may not lend itself to a loyalty system, but there are other ways to use your list. You might want to try direct mail, where you can target offers at groups of customers. You could post out coupons, mail a survey, offer a referral bonus or ask for product feedback.

In all of the above scenarios, your customer feels valued, and your brand has the chance to reconnect with that customer and create a sale. Providing you protect your customer data and maintain data quality, your contacts will feel that your business is trustworthy, reliable and worthy of their custom.


Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.