What Are Your Customers Worth?

I’m a frequent business traveler who’s likely to rack up $30,000 in airline, car rental and hotel expenses each year. And, I take vacation with my family twice per year, which offers a potential value of $15,000 annually. That means over the next three years my value as a customer is approximately $150,000. I’d say I’m pretty valuable.

So, while I’m navigating a travel vendor’s site (one that I use frequently) – looking at available fares and the cost of car rentals and hotels in the area – does that vendor know my value as a customer? It does not seem so. Do they offer me a service experience that’s tailored to my needs, based on my preferences or previous buying patterns? Nope. My experience is likely similar to all other customers, irrespective of my potential value.

I’d love for this vendor to offer me SMS updates informing me of flight delays. When my flights are delayed, it’d be great if one of the vendor’s reps called me before I called them and offered to book an alternate route. These simple examples of a personalized service experience amount to what I refer to as delivering “WOW” through customer service. Consistently delivering this WOW-worthy service would certainly earn my loyalty as longtime customer.

Speaking of loyalty – and by inference, the travel vendor’s marketing programs – I receive an email once a week offering me a deal for a trip that, without fail, I have no interest in taking. In fact, I have never clicked on any of their offers. My unresponsive behavior should serve as a clue. It offers ample evidence that cookie cutter offers are not working on me.

The travel vendor should use this type of evidence, or predictive analytics, to make me a more relevant offer. For example, say I have been travelling to a particular city every three weeks for the last three months. It’s natural to assume that I’m going to continue this travel pattern in the future. So, why not use the evidence to offer me a package deal for that city?

Few businesses truly understand just how much a particular customer is worth! And even if they are able to recognize different customer values, they fail to tailor the experience to suit the diverse needs of these customers. When it comes to courting customers, this one-size-fits-all just strategy doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time we being asking the right questions, gathering customer data and applying the evidence intelligently. In doing this, we’ll be able to better quantify the value of our customers, offer personalized service experiences and launch more informed, effective marketing campaigns.