I was reading a post by Seth Godin on embracing lifetime value. He mentions in his post on the value of a two year contract for AT& T or Verizon as worth as more than $ 2000 in lifetime value of a customer to them. And he writes asking companies and professionals to embrace this thinking.
It's funny and I fail to understand how many companies don't understand this and still continue to acquire new customers by extending significantly higher promotional freebies than to their existing customers. The question really is, if am an existing customer, should I not expect better renewal privileges than a new customer rather than go to a new service provider?
This experience happened to me last week, when I tried to renew my broadband account of Tata Indicom, a leading ISP in India. I have been their customer for over a decade now! They are currently running a new customer acquisition program, where new customers get 3 months of broadband free plus one month( T&C incl.) and a laptop sweepstake thrown in! When I enquired, if there was anything of similar value, they did not have anything to offer for me to renew!! It made sense to let the existing relationship die and start a new relationship afresh!
The key here is designing and extending a customized tariff plan to such customers. It starts with the following steps:
- Bring a culture a "customer-driven pricing" into the company. Rather than think pricing only for unknown customers, they should think pricing for known customers too.
- Banks have perfected this for years with credit scores driven differential pricing for customers. Similar thinking need to be extended to such service-driven businesses too. They should bring customer value-score driven pricing to existing customers.
- Value scores can be built very easily.They know their vintage, usage, approx monetary value, cost-to-serve etc. to them as subscribers but they fail to take account of the relationship customers share with them.
- Online recharge and newer channels of customer interaction provides an excellent opportunity to bring this differential pricing to execution as they can really customize the pricing offers.