How DIRECTV failed in its new customer incentive program

Companies spend a significant amount of time and money creating incentives to attract new customers.  This is an age-old tactic that continues to be used because it works.  These incentives range from free services, percentages off their contracts or some other perk or tchotchke.  Regardless of their success, I have always wondered depending upon the value of the incentive, how current and long-term customers perceived these tactics…especially if they are not eligible.

It wasn’t until the current promotion from DIRECTV that I realized just how frustrating these incentive tactics could be to existing long-term customers.  I have been a DIRECTV customer since 1995 and despite the occasional weather related issue with reception, I am very happy with their service.  From time to time we’ve considered dropping the service and going to cable however their NFL Sunday Ticket offering continues to be the saving grace that keeps us staying with them instead of switching back to cable.

Now after 16 years of paying for service and the additional NFL Sunday Ticket costs what do I get for being a long-term, loyal customer….NOTHING.  Seriously however, I can’t complain too much because I still get quality service and the ability to watch every game, every Sunday.  I definitely get what I am paying for and am very happy with it.

So where’s the rub?  As a long-term, loyal customer, DIRECTV are you not happy with me? Do you not appreciate me as a customer, my loyalties, my referrals? Is a new customer truly more valuable than those existing customers? Here’s a good article on measuring the value of a customer. What will their perception be towards the company after those long-term, loyal customers realize they are not eligible for the incentive despite their length of stay with the company?  Ultimately, these are questions companies should ask themselves before promoting a new customer acquisition campaign.  How will this be perceived and how can they retain and provide incentives to long-term customers?  What would you do? What would you offer to existing customers so they are not feeling slighted?
 

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