Posted by Joanne Dewberry on November 23, 2012
For my 21st Birthday my parents bought me a car – and with it an already sorted insurance policy all I had to do was sign and pay. It was with the AA and I trusted that my Dad had got me the best deal. For many years I was happy with the AA – I had a full time job, lived at home, had a disposable income and was living the high life – everytime the renewal forms fell on the floor I just signed and returned. Then my lovely Corsa that I’d owned from new passed away it was a sad day and this time I had a family and I didn’t really want to buy a new car so I bought an old Fiesta. I was shocked how much more this car was per month to insure but I was mid way through a policy so left it at that. When the renewal forms came I realised that it was a LOT more than what I had been paying with the Corsa. I did a comparison online – it highlight a really good deal from the AA for £200 less than what the AA had sent me. I called them with the reference number and they honoured the price online – happy days. This happened again the year after – but this time they reduced the price – it wasn’t the cheapest online but they did give me free breakdown cover for a year. After selling Networking Mummies in December last year and spending 9 months struggling to get all 5 of us in the Fiesta we decided to upgrade to a newer car. Now I’ve been with the AA since 2001 so when my renewal documents arrived on my doorstep inexcess of £600 for the year I was slightly flabbergasted!!
Comparison sites were showing prices from £200 – so again I called the AA who said they cold bring it down to £400 but that was it. It was hard choice to make as I’d been a customer for 11 years and I trusted the AA but I just couldn’t pay double what other people were charging for the same policy so I closed my account. Now what happened next is truly the worst form of customer loyalty EVER – the pleasant lady on the end of the phone said “I hope you will come and join us again next year we give great discounts to new customers“. WHAT!!!! I’d been with the AA for 11 years – 11 years – that’s nearly 6 years older than my son!!! Only Daddy Moo has been in my life longer than the AA!!
The AA obviously view me as a small fish in a big pond BUT I really believe that customers who regularily use your services/buy your products or recommend you to others should be rewarded – we all know word of mouth is the best form of marketing so are we utilising it to it’s full potential?
Here are a few examples of ways in which you can reward customer loyalty :-
- Block bookings are a popular way to reward regular customers great for fitness classes and therapists – “My fitness classes are £4, but if they book 10 it comes down to £3 per class so £30 block booking” – Sarah – Fit Herts
- Loyalty Cards – stamp booklets, rewarding your customer on the 10th stamp. Used in retail premises, soft play and coffee shops. You can have a half way point too so half price after 5 stamps and free session after 10 for example.
- Surprise Gifts!!!! “I give my loyal customers 10% off quite often. But I don’t advertise it or tell them it’s coming… just surprise them now & again on their invoice” – Laura - Once Upon a Time Clothing (who features in my book)
- Think Clubcards – Tesco, Nectar, Boots etc …. customers clock up points with you which they can cash in for rewards.
- Sharing the loyalty – “I give my customers 10% off when they book again and their friends 5% if they have been recommended,” Jennie - CleverCow Cakes
- Affiliate Schemes – whereby your website has links or adverts to another and they pay you per click or per purchase.
Make sure in 2013 you start rolling out a customer loyalty scheme (Watch this space as JD will be having one!!). **Special OFFER** from #TeamJD loyalty card design from £25 – email firstname.lastname@example.org If you have any other customer loyalty schemes please do leave us a comment below.