You’ve seen the ads zillions of times. Wow! Awesome pricing! A great deal! A special bundle. And then waaaaaaay down in that tiny little fine print at the bottom: “New customers only”. I don’t know about you, but if I am a current customer of that company I always think “What about me?”. Why do people who aren’t even a customer get the best deals? What about people like me that have been a customer of yours for months or years? Do we ever get special treatment? I argue that companies should start to spend a little less time trolling for new business and invest a little more time taking care of those loyal customers.
Now I get it. It’s a numbers game. New customers can be very difficult to bring in the door. Sometimes they need that “special pricing” nudge. And then once you get them in (and locked in for some period of time) with those special offers you’ll keep a certain percentage of them over a longer period of time – often out of sheer inertia, a lack of desire to make another change.
But again I ask “What about me?”. I’ve been a loyal customer. I feel like I deserve a better deal. I want to be treated well. I want to feel important. After all, you’re probably leveraging my money to be able to extend those great deals THAT YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE.
Since you are a business leader, here’s what I say you should consider for your business. For every promotional idea that gets proposed identify an idea designed to help your existing customers. It doesn’t always have to be the same deal. It doesn’t even have to be financial (although that’s always appreciated). Of course every business is unique, so you have to find something that is meaningful in your own business. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Make It Yours
Is there a way that you can provide existing customers additional options that are not available to those new customers? Maybe special colors or option packages. Maybe find a way to customize the product or service uniquely for the customer's environment.
See if you can find a way to deliver your product or service faster or in a unique way. Identify a way to provide upgraded delivery to those great customers. Another idea for delivered products or on-site services is to offer a slimmer delivery window with more precise timing.
ONLY For You
Find a way to give existing customers access to some form of special customer service. Maybe after a certain period of time as a customer or a certain number of orders they get access to a special customer service queue. Perhaps you have special return policy just for them. Or maybe they get some form of specialized information – unique reports or data that no one else gets, maybe an hour with the boss to discuss market trends, maybe it’s a customized newsletter or magazine. Whatever. Consider what would be valuable to your good customers. Perhaps you could offer special operating hours for your best customers only.
Slide That Pricing
Can you identify a way to improve the financial deal that existing (especially your best, most loyal) customers get? Maybe make that deal better as time goes on. Let’s be frank. When someone’s been a loyal customer for years they truly are the backbone of your business. You can’t take them for granted. They see the deals you are offering those newbies. Why not reach out to them proactively and offer them a better deal?
A Little “Lagniappe”
The word “lagniappe” means “a little something extra”, a kind of unexpected bonus. It’s that little difference that can make something special and unique. Can you randomly throw in a little bonus? If someone orders a bunch of nice shirts throw in a tie. If someone has been a great customer of your bookstore over the years toss in a free shipping deal or a discount coupon every once in a while. And don’t be shy about telling them that you’re doing it because you value them as a customer. Show them some love – and they’ll love you back. Hold a party or an open house just for existing customers.
Celebrate The Relationship
Keep track of the dates that your customers order from you. Celebrate those anniversaries. Show them that you have noticed that they are a loyal customer and demonstrate your appreciation in some way. For most customers it will be a pleasant surprise because (1) they probably don’t remember when they first engaged with you and (2) customers simply aren’t used to someone truly recognizing their loyalty and appreciating their business. What a great way to stand out from your competition and build a stronger relationship with your customers.
___________ ≈ ___________
We all want new customers to come in the door. And the pursuit of them takes on a bunch of different forms. But that pursuit needs to have some balance. As we work hard to chase those new customers, we need to be sure that we don’t alienate our wonderful existing customers. Treat them specially. Show your loyal customers the respect and love they deserve. We’ve become so used to trying to measure the ROI of our campaigns to bring in new customers, we sometimes fail to understand the ROI of investing in keeping our existing customers happy and feeling appreciated. Don’t make that mistake in your business.
Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let's explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas. You can reach me at (713) 907-8429 or BCohen@IDiscoverConsulting.com I hope you are enjoying these blog posts If so, please help spread the word. Tell others about IDiscover Consulting Group and IDiscover Journal. Share these posts. Comment on them. I’d really love to hear your ideas!