I enjoy my cable TV, Internet, and phone service through one 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 my monthly bills at the “normal” price.
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. I was already a customer. The customer service rep told me, “Sorry, this is only for new customers.” This was not the answer I wanted to hear. I asked why they mailed the promotion to me. He didn’t know. The bottom line was that they only offered the promotion to new customers. Thinking somewhat creatively, I asked if I could terminate my agreement and start over. Apparently that wasn’t an idea they would agree to.
Here’s my take. What is with companies that 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 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, “We’ve made a new 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 to his current customers because he was running a seasonal promotion that offered a lower price to new customers. I appreciated his moral and ethical way of thinking. In our conversation I offered the following solution:
Lowering the price can end up eroding revenue for a longer period of time. The idea of an introductory offer is just one time. So for his existing customers (read that as loyal customers), he could offer a one-time discount. This might be 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 the special introductory price promotion.
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 your customers’ (both new and loyal) interests in mind.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com/. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com/. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)