Actions speak louder than words…

One issue that seems to resonate in the market is who companies care about the most – NEW customers or CURRENT customers?  What I find out there is an incredible discrepancy between what is “said” and what is “acted” out by companies.

Too often a business tells its existing customers that they are the MOST important people to them and that they are the KEY to their success and all sorts of other accolades.  However, what ends up getting exhibited is exactly the opposite.  The business actually REWARDS the new customers more than their existing customers.  For example, when my contract ran out for DSL service through Verizon, I received a notice in the mail that they would be willing to sign me up for another year at the current rate of $32.95 a month – sounded like a good deal, right?  Not exactly. 

When a did just a bit of research I found out that they were offering NEW customers a year of service for $19.99 a month to get them to subscribe to their DSL service.  I have been a customer with them for over 10 years now and I am getting this really super special deal and getting the privelage of paying over $10 more per month – WOW do I feel special.  Of course when I called and complained and threatened to terminate my service they magically matched the intro pricing for new customers and reluctantly gave me the lower pricing.

How many times have you treated your own customers this same way?  I hope none.  Customers are not stupid for the most part.  In a world of transparency, they figure things out – just like I did.  They will eventually (probably sooner than you like) figure out that you are treating new customers better than your loyal or existing customers.  If you want to build LOYALTY, start with treating them at least as good (if not hopefully better) than new customers.  They have proven they will consistently spend money with you, why put this in jeopardy by only rewarding your new customers. 

Acquisition is important for sure – but NOT at the expense of LOYAL customers.  Loyal customers have been shown to spend more and give companies greater margin – why risk this to bring on a new set that may or may not stick with you and lose your existing ones in the process.  In these difficult times, put your money into solidifying your LOYAL customers first, anything left over should go to acquisition.  Hope this helps…


Blaine Millet

Customer Experiences Inc.

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