I am a DIRECTV subscriber and have been for over 6 years- it was part of the agreement between my husband and I in order to move back to NC from Philadelphia (true story). We spend a pretty rewarding your customers Atlantic Webworkspenny every month to afford him the luxury of watching his beloved Philadelphia Eagles during the football season. We always pay our bill on time,  rarely change our subscriptions and are what you would consider a “loyal customer”. So much so that at least once a month, we get a call from them or a postcard to thank us for being loyal customers and offering some form of reward – usually a free Pay-per-View movie.

You’re probably thinking to yourself “Well, what’s wrong with that? That’s a nice gesture!” – which it is. Here’s the problem. We have never ordered a PPV in our entire time with DIRECTV. Ever. I would no sooner order a PPV movie than eat Brussels sprouts. Honestly, I’m too cheap and I don’t care enough about being the first to see something before I can rent it. Here’s my other problem with their “reward”. It comes with rules. I have to order the movie, get a charge on my bill and then send the coupon in so they can issue a credit. There’s something else I’ve never done with DIRECTV – mailed them anything. I do everything online.

That’s a lot of work for a reward, I think.

It comes down to the fact that DIRECTV obviously doesn’t know me. If they knew me then they would be able to go thru their vast records of our bills and transactions and customize an offer that really WAS a reward for my loyalty. I understand that they have millions of customers and they’re not going to get to know me personally, but certainly their computer systems are savvy enough to filter through their clients records.

Saying thanks to your customers in business is very important in keeping them happy and loyal. But it’s important to not get so far removed from them that you have no idea what makes them tick. If you’re going to take the time to reward your best clients or customers, truly reward them with something that makes sense for them – not you.

For instance, If you own a restaurant, send them a voucher for a free entree – no strings attached. Don’t make it a buy one entree, get one entree free because then it’s about YOU, not them. Cold Stone Creamery used to have good birthday club “reward” system.  I knew that for each of our birthdays, we would get a free ice cream creation reward emailed to me. They didn’t “make” me buy another one to get it but I usually did since I almost always had the kids with me when I went. They were still making money off of me when I redeemed my  “reward” without demanding that I do it in order to receive my “reward”.  Unfortunately, I just double-checked my information and found out that they have recently changed their birthday club and now they DO put a stipulation on it and it’s now a buy one, get one free. That’s a shame because that’s not a reward anymore and most likely I won’t be going with my kids for my birthday anymore.

Good marketing and customer service will go a long way in building your brand awareness and ultimately, loyal customers.

Do you say thanks to your clients? How do you decide how to reward them?

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