I got a text message from my hair salon the other day, reminding me that it had been a while since my last appointment and asking me to come back in. I thought to myself, "Gee, it has been a while since my last cut!"
I called right away to make an appointment with my favorite stylist, but she was booked solid for two weeks. I asked if anyone else was free. No, I was told. No one else was open for two weeks either.
So, why send the text message prompting me to make an appointment?
Direct marketing initiatives, such as text messaging and emails, invite instant action, and when the audience takes instant action, they expect instant gratification. Now - because of my salon's message - all I can think about is getting my hair cut, but since the salon is booked for the foreseeable future, I'm making an appointment somewhere else.
Maybe the text campaign was so effective that the salon booked up quickly. A good problem for the salon, right? But they made no effort to keep my business when they couldn't accommodate my response to their marketing. And how many others did they have to turn away?
A few suggestions:
1) Before you encourage immediate action from your audience, be sure you can deliver what they'll want. Do you have room in your schedule to handle 30 new appointments? Are there enough sweaters in stock to meet your promise of a free gift-with-purchase?
2) Have a back-up plan in place to keep your customers happy if you can't meet their needs right away. Offer them a little something extra for their wait, or choose another free gift item if you run out of those sweaters.
3) Most importantly, empower your front-line staff to make little exceptions or gestures of good will. They'll go a long way toward encouraging customer loyalty.