I enjoy my cable TV, Internet and phone service through a single provider. It’s called “bundling” and usually saves the customer money. The company we use for these services gave me an incentive to switch to them; it saved me quite a bit of money. Then, after a year, that sweet deal went away. As expected, I started receiving bills showing we were being charged the “normal” rate.
Then one day I received an advertisement with a promotion that was very similar to the one that had given me the incentive to switch. I called to take advantage of the lower pricing. The customer service representative said that if I switched to them, I could get this great deal for the next year. I informed the customer service rep that I didn’t need to switch because I was already a customer. The rep said, “Sorry. This is only for new customers.” This was not the answer I wanted to hear. I asked why they bothered to mail the promotion to me. He didn’t know. The bottom line was that they offered the promotion to new customers only. Thinking somewhat creatively, I asked if I could terminate my agreement and start over, but the rep said that was something they would not agree to.
Here’s my take: I would like to know why companies create a promotion with special pricing for their new customers but don’t take care of their loyal customers? I know, this is marketing and sales, but it’s not a good practice. It can make a loyal customer become disloyal. If I’m loyal to a company, shouldn’t I be treated at least the same—if not even better—than someone who has never done business with the company before? I would hope so!
I agree that we sometimes need to create special promotions for newer customers. It gets their attention and gets them interested. However, why not offer something of value to the existing customer? The company bought our good will with discounted pricing. Why not renew or further solidify our good will and loyalty with some other type of special promotion?
Here’s the idea: It’s simple and shows the loyal customer a little love and appreciation. You might receive a letter or email stating something like: “We’ve made an introductory offer to our new customers and thought it would be nice to give our loyal customers a discount on their next bill. This is a small way to say thank you for being loyal to our company.”
A friend visited my office with a problem. He was thinking of lowering his price for his current customers because he was running a promotion that offered a lower price to new customers. I suggested that lowering the price could end up eroding revenue for a longer period of time, while the introductory offer was only for a limited time. For his existing (read: loyal) customers, he could offer a one-time discount, perhaps in exchange for an early renewal or paying in advance. This means that his loyal customers get to participate in a special deal and won’t be upset if they hear about his introductory offer.
To get loyalty from your customers, you must also be loyal to them. The concept of showing some love to your existing customers while trying to court new ones with incentives is just one way of showing that you have both new and loyal customers’ interests in mind.
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Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and best-selling author. For more information on Shep’s speaking presentations, call 314-692-2200, email email@example.com or go to www.hyken.com.