Decision Diagram

Decision Flow Diagrams are a good way to plan the probability and outcome of user action. I use a lot flow diagrams to plan the flow of our e-mail marketing plan, customer support system and etc.

Decision Flow Diagram 1: Getting Back on Those Unsold Downloads

In improving customer relationship, we make serious effort in getting user feedback on our product and services. An e-mail dialogue is one good way in getting customer response.

In this example, we use an e-mail dialogue to encourage sales of our product. First, let's look at the flow diagram.

I've found a very good illustration of good yet subtle persuasion in selling, courtesy of (at least my version of the story).

Here's the scenario. You're on vacation and it's been a tiring day. All you need now is a warm, comfy bed and doze off. You found a nice hotel with a nice reception area. You walk to the lobby.

Before you could even walk a step further, a hotel staff greets you, "How are you Sir? You look tired. Here, take a look at our hotel brochure with the rooms available in this hotel.." He goes on and on about the room you've imagined at the back of your mind. Without you realizing, he brings you to the reception counter and, "Why don't you let our receptionist book a room for you to stay the night?" You give him your credit card and go straight up the elevator.

What we are doing with an e-mail dialog is a form of a gentle persuassion. Instead of badgering our visitors with e-mails trying to sell them our product, we instead ask them questions and user feedback of our product.

The first e-mail we sent out after 7 days of downloading our product from the website is a gentle reminder to register the product downloaded. We also asked the user how the trial went and encouraged him to contact us. The first contact we have with the 'download-er' through e-mail induces some sales from the downloads.

The second contact with the download-er is in the form of a more detailed questionnaire. The second e-mail is sent after 15 days (the end of the trial period of our products). Download-ers are responsive in our effort to improve our product and services. Seeing our true effort, this second contact had made them confident of a purchase through our company.

In maintaining contact and forging relationship with users, we subscribe them to our NewsLetter.

Now, the point of the whole story is, insisting and establishing contact with visitors gives a higher chance of a successful purchase. From our experience through various layers of e-mails sent to website visitors, each contact bring one step closer to forging a relationship with the customer.

Importance of Contact

Many other developers take lightly the importance of keeping contact with their customers and forging a relationship with them. After a purchase is made, an automated standard e-mail is sent out to the customer with instructions on registering the product, etc. Once in a while, an e-mail is sent to promote other products from the company; another 'selling' ploy!

As a small company, managing thousands of customers is certainly an excruciatingly difficult thing to do. But I realize by heart the importance of forging a good professional relationship with a customer in keeping the customer. After all, what we ultimately want is A Customer For Life!

2.30 am. September 10, 2004