Stage 4 Maintain dialogue using offline communication

Here, direct mail or e-mail is the most effective form of communication since this can be tailored to be consistent with the user's preference. The aim here may be to drive traffic to the web site as follows:

• online competition;

• sales promotion.

When e-mail addresses are captured offline a common problem is the level of errors in the address - this can often reach a double-figure percentage. Plan for this also - staff should be trained in the importance of getting the e-mail address correct and how to check for an invalid address format. Some call centres have even incentivised staff according to the number of valid e-mail addresses they collect. When collecting addresses on paper, some practical steps can help, such as allowing sufficient space for the e-mail address and asking for it to be written in CAPS.

A further objective in stage 3 and 4 is to improve customer information quality. In particular, e-mails may bounce - in which case offline touchpoints as indicated in Figure 6.7 need to be planned to collect these e-mail addresses.

The balance between online communications (stage 3) and offline communications (stage 4) should be determined by how responsive customers are to different communications channels since stage 3 is a lower-cost route.

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