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February 21, 2009

Do Your Best Customers Know They Are?

This week I received a letter from Hotwire (which is, along with Tripit, my favorite travel site) that began:
"Welcome to Hotwire Express, a new service designed for our best customers.  Given the volume of business you do with Hotwire, you've earned this enhanced level of service and support, which includes..."
The letter continued to list a series of benefits I'll now receive as an Express member including faster response times, dedicated travel specialists, and increased flexibility to change already-paid-for bookings.

I wasn't expecting the letter, and didn't know I was one of Hotwire's "best" customers, though I've spent thousands of dollars with them.  I hadn't even thought I needed the additional services Hotwire's now giving me for free.  In short, it was the kind of pleasant surprise that made me feel good about my past use of their service and more likely to use them again. 

I also realized that this strategy lends itself well to other businesses.  What could you do to surprise (and better serve) your best customers? Take some lessons from Hotwire and:
1.  Identify your best customers.

2.  Tell them they are, in fact, your best customers and sincerely thank them.  They'll be surprised and happy to know you're grateful for their business. 

3.  Finally, give them additional services and benefits that they'll appreciate without them having to ask for them.
What's the worst that can happen?


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The worst thing that can happen is that non-best-customers find out that such an elite service exists... and then stop using said service because of the new knowledge. :)

There was an article in Conde Nast about this just the other day.

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