Deciding who your VIPs are is not as simple as it may sound. Having too many VIPs could overwhelm your support team and lower the quality of customer care, defeating the purpose entirely. On the other hand, deny certain customers VIP status and you could damage relationships or undermine loyalty. Here are five types of customers to consider when deciding who should earn the VIP badge:
1. The Big Spender
According to Pareto’s 80/20 rule, 80 percent of your profit comes from about 20 percent of your customers. These are your high spenders, frequent buyers, and customers who have been active with your company for an extended period of time. They have the highest lifetime value (LTV) out of your customers and are major contributors to your success.
Assigning VIP status to your big spenders will foster greater loyalty and encourage them to keep buying from you. Still, not everyone who drops a large sum on your product or service may be a good fit for VIP. Depending on your product and business, your top-tier buyers should include one or more of the following:
- High-value, single-transaction customers
These are great VIPs for B2B businesses that provide a product or service that may not need to be purchased frequently, but that requires ongoing support. By looking at single high-value transactions, you can flag these buyers for special follow-up care or personalized account help.
- Customers with a target cumulative spend over a given period
One large purchase doesn’t always mean that the customer will come back, or will expect any significant assistance. Instead, you might need to look at a broader purchase history to find your VIPs. B2C businesses that thrive on small but steady purchases should consider not only how much a customer spends, but also over what period of time.
- Customers with a target number of transactions over a given period
Some companies may choose to reward frequency over transaction value. This can be a good approach to VIP recognition for companies that require a steady flow of return customers, such as those in travel and e-commerce. Assigning VIP status to your ‘frequent flyers’ encourages repeat use of your services and continuous engagement with marketing content. These customers are also more likely to need repeat customer care and providing them with a consistent and high-quality experience such as assigning them to the ‘personal shopper’ representative they worked with last time will keep them coming back.
It’s up to you to decide what a Big Spender looks like to your company. Your direct competitor may have an entirely different perspective. Just be consistent – your VIP experience will be devalued if you don’t apply it evenly.
2. The Exceptionally Angry Customer
VIP status isn’t just a tool for rewarding sales; it can also be used for mitigating damage to your brand caused by furious customers. Consider making Exceptionally Angry Customers into VIPs in the following scenarios:
- A customer has reached out multiple times and has marked all or a majority of resolutions as unsatisfactory. One way for you to gauge customer dissatisfaction is through feedback surveys. If a customer has marked multiple interactions as unsatisfactory, you can assign them with VIP status so that your agents can prioritize their unresolved complaints and be alerted to their presence on your site whenever they return.
- An upset customer has reached out multiple times, and their situation had to be escalated. Upset customers will express their frustration through requests to speak with your customer service manager or supervisor. Customers who do this often can be designated as a VIP so that they are transferred to a representative who is capable and familiar with their situation every time. This is often a win-win situation; the customer is linked to an agent they know they can trust, and the agent has the opportunity to continue a relationship with someone they genuinely helped.
- An upset customer has taken to social media to flame your brand. Around 13 percent of dissatisfied customers will tell more than 20 people about their negative experience. On social media, that number soars into the hundreds — sometimes even the thousands. When a customer takes directly to social platforms to get attention and publicly shame your brand, you must take immediate action to remedy the situation. You can tackle a customer’s negative public complaint at once by triggering an alert to an agent, who can then proactively reach out to them in a private message on the same social media platform they used to complain. Once the issue is resolved, the agent can assign them a VIP status to ensure they get the red-carpet treatment whenever they reach out for support in the future.
While it may be tricky to quantify anger, your team can define SLAs (service level agreements) that will help your company know when to grant VIP status. Maybe your organization wants to bump up the priority of a customer after they report being dissatisfied just once, or maybe after five such incidents. This can also be tied into the overall value of the customer: maybe your Big Spenders become a VIP after one negative interaction while others are assigned that status after three negative interactions.
Done right, once-angry customers who are impressed by their VIP treatment can eventually become your most vocal advocates.
3. The A-list Prospect
Whether B2C or B2B, every company has an Ideal Customer Profile. These are the ones that have been determined to be the most profitable. In the B2B world, acquiring these customers is best achieved through Account Based Marketing (ABM). They are the very definition of VIP, and all your marketing and sales resources are aligned to their pursuit.
Companies that employ ABM tend to pursue 38 percent of their target accounts at one time. For this approach to be effective, they must have an internal account selection process that allows them to prioritize accounts in a repeatable way.
When translating your ABM list into VIPs in your database, accounts can be separated into different tiers, each with their own priority level. This enables you to route different prospective accounts to their designated account managers whenever they come online. You can have Never Miss a VIP: How to Identify and Delight Your Most Important Customers in the Digital World 6 them self-identify by providing an email address or you can identify them by their IP (Internet Protocol) address – a numerical internet identification code unique to every company. You can then trigger a proactive chat invitation that mentions them by name (“Hello ABC Company, how can I help you today?”)
4. Your Business Partners
In every industry, it pays to have partners. If an organization or person is partnering with your company, whether they’re a reseller, referral partner, or part of a strategic ecosystem, provide them with VIP status to ensure that they get what they need quickly.
As part of your VIP treatment, you can greet the partner by name (as discussed above) and then route them to a team member who can help them get exactly what they’re looking for – whether it’s the marketing team, their account manager, or technical support.
Bottom line: VIPs will look very different in some industries or particular businesses than they do in others. Consider what specific needs your customers will have and customize your VIP rules to fit the requirements of your unique user base.