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It drives me a little crazy when I receive an advertisement in the mail from my cable TV or phone company offering me an incentive to sign up with them. First, I’m already a customer and can’t understand why they can’t figure that out. Second, why is the price they are offering a new customer lower than what I’m currently paying? This concept, of offering a new customer a better deal than an existing customer, is nothing new. (I’ve even written about this before.) And it’s not just cable companies that do this. The strategy is simple. A company wants to acquire new customers and is willing to cut its rates to do so. But, how do you think a customer, such as myself, feels when we see the deal, then calls the company to ask for the same deal, and is told that it’s just for new customers? Isn’t my loyalty worth something? I would think my loyalty would be an incentive to give me a better deal, versus giving a better deal to a customer they have never done business with before. But, apparently, that’s not the case with some of these companies. Then, there are companies that take the opposite approach. One of those companies is Naya Traveler. They are a boutique tour operator, specializing in high-end, immersive trips to culturally rich destinations, and they offer a $500 discount to any new customer that signs up for a tour. But, if you’re an existing customer, the discount is $1,000. That’s twice the discount for a new customer. It’s obvious that Naya Traveler values their existing customers. So, maybe you want to offer new customers an incentive to do business with you. And, maybe it’s an incentive in the form of a discount – something that existing customers don’t receive. I understand the strategy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something else for your existing customers. A cable company may offer a lower rate to new customers for the first year. That same company can offer their existing customers a bonus, perhaps a free month of cable or a free upgrade to a premium channel. This is just something that shows “a little love” to their existing customers. So, when advertising and promoting to new customers, consider the message you are sending to existing customers. All customers should be treated equally in terms of customer service. All should be made to feel special. But, when it comes to the deal, you might consider treating your existing customers, the ones that have shown you their loyalty, a little better.

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

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