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Monday, September 12, 2011

Mass elite

Mass elite:

You’ve probably noticed that the line for regular check in is now shorter than the line for Platinum/First Class/Club/Elite/Diamond/Whatever. That the hold time for your super-exclusive access card is longer than ever.

Marketers have figured out that the incremental cost of promising better service to better customers is pretty cheap. Of course, delivering that is expensive, but that’s someone else’s problem.

Once you create two classes of service, there’s an overwhelming temptation to undo that effort in two ways:
--continually degrade the upper class service as a way of saving money
--offer more access to the upper class as a way of leveraging your investment in setting it up in the first place

Should you treat different customers differently? There’s no doubt about it. It’s the single easiest operational way to transform your organization, by giving loyal and profitable customers a reason to come back. The danger is that your team will misunderstand the entire point of the exercise, using it as an opportunity to cut corners on the hoi polloi (who are merely elite customers who haven’t converted yet) at the same time they try to save money by investing less in the very people you set out to serve better in the first place.

Go ahead and charge extra to people who want to pay (in money or loyalty) extra. But don’t forget to give them something in return.

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