Customers are people, too

This week I had a positive customer experience with Marketingprofs.com and it got me thinking again about why companies so often mess up and treat prospects better than customers.

So, here’s what happened. I’ve been a MarketingProfs pro member for years, but somehow I also ended up on their prospect list. I think I may have done something wacky changing my email once. As a result I get both email updates as a customer and the ones they send to those they hope to convert.

This particular email offered me a free course if I signed up as a pro member. It was a $500 value and I know their courses are excellent. I felt a little cheated that someone they hardly knew was getting this offer when a loyal customer like me wasn’t. So, I responded to the email explaining that I was a customer already, but that I’d sure like to take advantage of this offer.

It took a few days, but Penny from MarketingProfs emailed me back and told me that a private code had been created so I could take advantage of this offer. Thank you, Penny, that’s great news.

Why is it that so many companies do this? They get so fixated on luring in new customers that they forget to save some of those great deals for existing customers. The telecom companies are famous for this. So are the banks. Is it any wonder loyalty is so low in those industries? Why not switch mobile providers with every new deal if you get ignored after signing the contract? It’s the same reason people cheat in relationships: I’m just not appreciated.

The recent decision by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) here in Canada to kill all three-year contracts for mobile companies will make this problem even worse for them if they continue focusing on just new business.

This whole issue of getting new business by treating existing customers right is something Joseph Jaffe writes about in his book Flip the Funnel in much more detail than I can cover here if you are interested.

Coming back to my experience with MarketingProfs, I think they provide great value for my money. I’m a satisfied customer and this incident ended well for me. But imagine how much better it would have been if I hadn’t had to ask. What if they just occasionally surprised me with an offer to thank me for being a loyal customer?

What if my mobile company did the same? My bank? Dare I suggest my insurance company? Here are three industries that stand to make huge gains by showing a little appreciation.

How about you? Are there companies you deal with who get this right? Or wrong?

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