Beware the danger of treating newly-acquired customers better than your already-loyal customers


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I spotted again a TV commercial I like for Ally Bank. It’s been around for a bit, but it’s a classic, demonstrating that they understand a classic point about how to treat customers. In the commerical, a gentlemen who is standing in front of an ice cream stand in what’s obviously a kids’ play room refuses ice cream to a kid who has been sitting in the room. However, a new kid comes along, who receives a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone for being “newer” than the kid already on the scene.

“Even kids understand that it’s wrong to treat new friends better than old friends,” intones the voiceover in explaining that Ally doesn’t have “teaser rates.”

Good point, and one that came to mind again when recently spotting an introductory offer from what used to be my cable company. In an article I wrote early last year, called “Free Association: The difference between freebie, gift and reward,” I cautioned against “reverse exclusivity” of free enticements. “I’m constantly irked by cable-TV promotions like free premium channels offered only to new customers, as I stare at my cable bill and wonder why my loyalty earns me the right to pay full price for those channels. Suppose the cable company had come to me and said, ‘You’ve heard about the free channels we’re offering new customers for three months. We’ll do you one better by giving you those same channels for six months.’ And if your best-customer offer already is better than an acquisition offer, make sure those best customers understand this.”

And it couldn’t hurt to throw in some ice cream, too. Then maybe my cable company wouldn’t have become “used to be” mine.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Brohaugh
As managing editor, Bill Brohaugh is responsible for the day-to-day management and editorial for the COLLOQUY magazine and, the most comprehensive loyalty marketing web site in the world. In addition to writing many of the feature articles, Bill develops the editorial calendar, hires and manages outside writers and researchers and oversees print and online production. He also contributes to COLLOQUY's weekly email Market Alert and the COLLOQUYTalk series of white papers.



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