creativity, culture, community
I am a big fan of companies who promote brand loyalty through special programs and reward customers who frequently use their products or services. I enjoy being an insider, learning the latest scoop, and getting a great deal.
Conversely, I get annoyed when, as a long-time client, I am left out of something in favor of new customers.
Recently I left my hair stylist. She’s talented, but she doesn’t place a high value on her loyal patrons. On my last couple of trips to the salon she mentioned that she needed to attract new customers. Because she knows I’m a marketing professional and I thought I could honestly be of assistance, I offered some advice. We talked about ways to get the word out about the salon. I came up with several ideas that I thought were good , like volunteering as a guest speaker at local business meetings, and joining with other area retailers to share print and online ads. I recommended that she create a Facebook page to talk about trends in hairstyles and care. She could give tips and feature humorous stories, and even do some product giveaways.
I also suggested that she might start a loyalty program whereby existing customers would get a special discount or freebie every 3 visits, or receive a discount on their one year anniversary with the salon. I said that I thought it might be nice to have a book of “before and after” photos of her real-life frequent customers, as well as providing the typical professional model photos. This way her existing customers would be flattered by being included in the book.
She didn’t like my ideas and said she didn’t see the value of offering anything to existing customers.
A few minutes into my last salon visit, my stylist repeated that she really had to attract new people. She explained that her plan was to run ads with specials for first time customers and to go to area events to pass out coupons offering special discounts and upgraded services for new customers only. I’m sitting in the chair wondering, “What am I, chopped liver?” I just smiled and decided to take my business someplace where I might be more valued.
Whether it’s your bank, your cable company or your plumber…how do you feel about them offering new customers the very best deals on their services?