Sprint announced the launch of Sprint Premier, a new customer loyalty program. The program will offer a series of ‘perks’ to existing customers. “We know that loyal customers are the most important ones to our business and we want to reward them for their choice in Sprint,” said Jeff Hallock, vice president for base management at Sprint in a company statement. Program perks include:
- Early Upgrades: Existing customers can get the ‘new’ customer price on service plans and equipment after one year of service
- “Just Because” Perks: Spontaneous special offers for trips, tickets to shows and sporting events
- Anniversary Rewards: Customers celebrate their annual Sprint anniversary with a special gift such as free ring tones or free minutes
- First to Know/First to Buy: First look at new products and services such as the upcoming, with an opportunity to purchase them first
- Accessory Discounts: A once-a-year discount on accessories at participating Sprint stores
- Courtesy Plan Check: For customers who haven’t changed their plan in six months, Sprint will notify them for a “Plan Check” to make sure they are getting the most value out of their device
I for one applaud Sprint for this move. Their customer service challenges are legendary and are part of the reason why they lose a million plus subscribers per quarter. I’ve been a big advocate of companies spending a little more time rewarding existing customers, rather than focusing most of their attention on growth and new customers. Why should new customers get all of the best deals, while existing customers watch in envy? These types of reward and recognition programs should be commonplace for all companies, not just Sprint. My contention is that if you take care of both existing and new customers, you won’t be in a position of having to stop the bleeding, while also making yourself appealing to new customers. That’s the unfortunate and potentially deadly situation Sprint finds itself currently in. Maybe the recognition program could have prevented the bleeding in the first place. In an rapidly evolving competitive environment, service providers would do well to not take existing customers for granted. All too often, they are ‘marginalized’ in the pursuit of growth.