One of the things that is so important in business is rewarding the loyalty of your existing and best customers and making them feel appreciated. There are many ways to do this, but the question here is not so much how you choose to show your appreciation. The key is just making sure that you are doing something to ensure that your best customers feel really great about your business.
Legacy Toyota in Tallahassee demonstrated this concept vividly the last time I was there to get my car serviced. Legacy recently underwent a significant expansion and built a beautiful new facility across the street from its original location. As part of its new facility, it included a very pleasant area near the showroom where customers could wait.
With one large TV, plenty to drink and free snacks, it is a comfortable place.
However, Les Akers, the owner of Legacy, wanted to reward his loyal customers and make them feel important. In order to do so, he came up with the idea of having an MVP Club for customers who had bought cars from his dealership, either new or used. A significant benefit of membership in this club is access to the MVP lounge, which is equipped with two large flat screen TVs, very comfortable chairs and computer terminals with access to the Internet, as well as better drinks and snacks. Additionally, members of this MVP Club receive discounts on services and parts, and a whole host of other benefits.
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While Legacy’s MVP lounge costs money to stock and maintain, the customers appreciate the special care they get. While I waited, I talked to three or four other customers who were also waiting for their cars, and they were all so thankful for the special treatment. They all said they felt pampered by the exclusivity of the room and the additional benefits they received there. Furthermore, they all said that the lounge made their next car decision a very easy choice.
This MVP club is only one of many ways you can reward loyal customers. From frequent buyer cards to customer parties to seats at various sporting events, there are numerous other options. The bottom line is that you always want to give great customer service, but it is imperative that you make your best and loyal customers feel like MVPs.
Now go out and make sure you have a plan in place to reward your best and most loyal customers for their continuing patronage.
Jerry Osteryoung, the director of outreach of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Florida State University, the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship and professor of finance, can be reached at (850) 644-3372.