Let’s examine two different companies — both we could consider “successful” and “household names.”
DirecTV – I’ve been a DirecTV customer for two years and while they are more customer-centered than some of their competitors that I’ve worked with, I am surprised by their latest actions. I tried to call and renegotiate my monthly bill – I’d run out of my previous monthly discounts and the cost was pretty unreasonable for simple TV service. (We have one of the lower packages, too.)
They offered me a small discount each month, but were not wildly helpful. I’ve had to reset their DVR and receiver many times and still have technical issues with that.
I’d like a replacement without any hassle. I’d like a comparable discount to what I’d received for the months before. The company did not respond.
On the other hand, let’s look at Subaru.
My husband and I just purchased a new Forester and the experience at the dealership was about average for most dealership experiences. But after we purchased it, we received welcome packets, one of which included this free “badge of ownership.”
It seems like a simple thing. It shouldn’t make me as giddy as I feel.
But each badge is customizable with the number of Subarus you have owned, and your own “lifestyle” tag that you get to pick.
Not only do I feel like a true member of the “club,” but you allow me to showcase my own lifestyle and you provide me this badge at no cost. Heck yes, I’ll stick this on my car and further promote my brand loyalty, Subaru!
Now, to be fair, time will tell if Subaru is still treating me this well a few years down the road. But the difference of value that these two companies place on current customers is clear.
Your current customers are your most important marketing tool. Invest in them. They will spread the word better than a thousand billboards.
Truth is, they’re spreading the word now, whether that is bad, or nothing at all. So are you a part of their conversation? Are you winning their heart and loyalty (earnestly)?
If not, you’d better start. Start with a hand-written card to someone who came into the shop a few days back. Genuinely thank them for their business. Your business too big to scale something like that? Email blast a 20% off coupon to current customers only.
Spoil your patrons. You’ll see the ROI in the long-run.