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Customer Appreciation: Keeping the Flame of Loyalty Burning

Lucy Costelloe
22 November 2018
Customer Appreciation: Keeping the Flame of Loyalty Burning

Your Best Customers Are Your Audiences Foundations

One of the easiest customer segments to target should be your ‘best-customers’, the customers who love attending your programmes, following your new campaigns, and have their memberships repurchased before you even have time to send out a reminder. These customers are essentially the foundation of your audience, and while it may feel great to attract new customers and watching your database grow, you can’t forget that without your best-customers, a lot of your work and objectives would go unaccomplished. As the old adage goes, it is far easier (and cheaper) to keep the customers you have than to attract new ones.

Keeping Your Tactics Simple Will Lead to Loyalty Nirvana

Simple tactics and a good routine will help you keep the flame of customer loyalty burning. What’s more your approach with your best customers will certainly spill over to other customer segments - so really a win-win! Keeping a steady state of engagement with your best customers, means when you are ready to turn the heat up for hero events, or Christmas pantos, you should see a burst in your conversions.

But be sure to keep a keen eye out: If you notice that your sales for pre-booking or early release tickets are down, this is usually the key indicator that somewhere along the line, your best customers fell off somewhere along the marketing journey. The good news is that it really does not take too much to pick them up again.

The (Almost) Five Ws and Your Best Customers

First, you need to do a quick hit of your Five Ws: who are you targeting, why are you targeting them, what is your reward, when is the reward period starting and ending, and how will you target them.

Critically here is the why; why you offer rewards to your best customers at all, and exactly what you reward them with for their loyalty, time, and attendance. The why and what will of course vary from arts organisation to arts organisation and from theatre to theatre, and importantly, be dependent on seasons, programmes, even by the year.

Here’s an example;

Best Customers - Summer Season - Creative Writing Workshops.

Why offer 15% off if they book in for two workshops - Short Stories and Poetry?

  1. Beginning of June is tough sales-wise for our Adult programmes as children are off school.

  2. Bundling will encourage our best customers to bring their friends along. Possibility of increasing members.

  3. Our theatre programme was down 5% this year versus last. If we can engage our best customers further with creative writing we might be able to push our theatre programme this year.

  4. Last year we operated no summer loyalty incentives for our best customers. Let’s trial it for this year and then track and trace, trial and test.

  5. We are starting a membership programme in September and want to test this segment further before devising the membership benefits.

Keep in mind, the above should be a quick exercise for you and your team; one minute tops to tease this all out.

If you manage multiple venues, you will quickly see that each of your venues will have different needs, and each venue will have a different best customer profile - with varying needs. Crucially, the needs of our your best customers are different to the needs of other customers. Let’s take a look at a few ways to meet those needs.

Rewarding Your Best Customers

Help Your Best Customers be the Earliest Birds on the Block

Do you have early bird offers or have dynamic pricing in place? If you do, there is certainly no harm in letting your best customers in on the secret a little earlier than everyone else. If your early-bird pricing begins on a Tuesday, why not tell your best customers and members to book Monday to avoid disappointment and get the best deal.

Reward Does Not Always Mean Discount

It can be hard at times to think of rewarding our customers in other ways apart from discounting tickets. Use the data that you already have to quickly experiment with non-discounted rewards for your best customers. Below is a quick example:

  1. Segment your best customers into those that attended your Christmas panto and those who did not.

  2. Segment again: this time those that attended twice in the last three years (including the current year).

  3. Email those frequent panto customers with visuals of the current year’s panto. Thank them for attending, remind them of the fun and excitement and give them the date for the early-release tickets for the following year.

While the above doesn’t give a monetary reward, it gives an informational reward, allowing your best customers to get the jump on tickets, while also create suspense and anticipation for the following year.

Remember Keep It Simple But Consistent

You have a lot of audiences to keep happy, but the great thing is that your best customers already love your venue. It only takes 2-5 minutes a week to maintain this relationship and keep the flames of loyalty burning.

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