All customers are not the same. And some are more valuable than others. Therefore, they should be treated that way.
I recently called the customer service department at a bank, to ask about a charge that appeared on my statement. The Customer Service Representative explained that the charge is something they apply to all accounts.
“But I’ve been a customer for 15 years, and I’ve given you a lot of good business.”
“Yes, you have. In fact, I can see in your account history that you’ve been a very valuable customer to us.”
“Tell me,” I asked, “if I had only been a customer for six months, would that same charge appear?”
“Yes; what we do for some customers, we have to do for all customers.”
That simply isn’t true, and worse, it’s bad business practice.
At the end of the day, a strong business relationship is like a strong personal relationship. The more you do for your best friends, the stronger the bonds of friendship become. It’s the same in business. The more favorable treatment that you curry upon your most valuable customers, the more valuable those customers become to your business.
Airlines successfully pioneered this strategy with their frequent flyer programs. They found ways to give their more valuable customers preferential treatment, and as a result, the value of those customers would increase further. Then, lower-value, or less frequent customers would become aware of the preferential treatment, and subsequently take action (fly more miles) to earn the same preferred status. According to the Peppers & Rogers Group, the success of these programs has been their ability to build profitable, long-term customers relationships.
There’s nothing wrong with giving your best customers preferential treatment. In fact, you’re shortchanging your customers and your bottom line, if you’re not already doing it.
Thanks to whosiandrewwee.com for this montage of customer types!