Many years ago, while on a date with my wife, we visited a coffee shop  in a neighbouring town for an espresso after dinner. Six years later, I received my first follow-up from that business.

Myself and about a hundred other people were publicly CC’ed on that email. First things first, the business owner seems like a nice guy. I believe he meant well, but he did everything wrong. He wrote to remind us that his shop was still there, and  that without the support of the town’s local shoppers, his business and many others in the downtown core would cease to exist.

In over six years since visiting the shop, this was the first email I’d ever gotten from this business.

Fast forward to a week and a half ago. My wife and I were visiting Toronto and she purchased a Rugby sweater at a Brooks Brothers shop.

Yesterday, she received the letter below in the mail (yes – I mean the old slow regular mail). My wife was thrilled. She’s probably a Brooks Brothers customer for life now because of that simple little gesture.

There are so many things done right from a marketing standpoint about the letter from Brooks Brothers and we could spend a while dissecting all those things.

There are so many things wrong with your first customer follow-up taking six years to arrive.

Most businesses don’t follow-up. And then, after a while, those businesses begin to wonder where everyone went.

Imagine what might happen if your business followed-up, every single time.

P.S. I’ve got two tickets to see Seth Godin, Barbara Corcoran, Sally Hogshead, Jerry Greenfield and others, live at in Toronto on November 22, 2011. Between now and the end October, anyone who leaves a comment on the blog will be entered to win two tickets. The winner will be announced November 1, 2011.

Brook's Brothers Customer Retention