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Do you treat loyalty like royalty?

Do you pull out the stops for your VIP customers? If not, don’t expect them to stick around.

zac de silva customer loyalty idealog?A friend of mine bought herself a subscription to her favourite magazine at the beginning of the year. She told me she really enjoys having that little indulgence each week, a glossy something to read as she sits down for five minutes in the morning with her cuppa. She’d been buying that magazine title pretty much every week for the past six weeks and figured a subscription would make her life a lot easier: she wouldn’t have to remember to throw it in the supermarket trolley each week or make a special trip to the dairy to get it – it would be delivered straight to her door. No effort required, no more missing the occasional issue – perfect.

So she subscribed. And then the following Tuesday she got her first issue. Hmm, not great as the magazine hits the newsstands on a Monday, and even a Sunday in some places. But she figured it was just a first-time glitch. The next week, same thing happened. And the week after, and the week after, and… you get the message. She rang the helpline who said that a Tuesday delivery was normal.

Can you see the problem here? My friend had liked a product so much that she was willing to stump up enough cash for a year’s subscription. It meant she didn’t want to miss an issue all year. It meant that she was loyal to that magazine. It meant that she’d chosen that “treat” above all other options. And how had the product rewarded this show of loyalty and love? By giving her a second-rate delivery.

Die-hard magazine fans don’t want to walk past the new issue for sale on a Monday and know they have to wait till the next day to get their hands on it! If anything, they should have it in their hot little hands the day it goes on sale, if not the day before.

Rewarding your most loyal fans with second-rate anything? Not cool. Why would she subscribe again? And what sort of dampener is that having of her experience of the product? None of this situation bodes well for how she feels about this magazine going forward.

Think about how you treat your VIPs. What do you give them in return for their loyalty and positive word of mouth? How do you reward them? Do you give them product previews? VIP nights? A heads’ up on any sale you have? Behind the scenes news? First dibs on new offerings? The chance to give feedback on products, services and potential changes? Free delivery? A little gift or discount on their birthday?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to pull out all the stops for any customer who loudly and proudly shows their allegiance for you (such as forking out for a long-term contract with you, like a subscription). Show them the same adoration and respect. Look after your VIPs and they’ll look after you and the future of your business.

Zac de Silva is a business coach and former owner of Barkers Menswear. He currently runs Business Changing and works with over 70 clients, including BNZ, Westfield, Huffer, Foodstuffs, The Icehouse and Les Mills

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