When it comes to being a consumer, the older I get, the more loyal I become.
I have my favorite auto-repair shop. My favorite restaurants. My favorite grocery store (and cashier). My favorite insurance agent… I’ve even stayed with my credit union in New Mexico since 1988, even though I moved away a year later!
There is something reassuring about knowing what I can count on over and over again. I find vendors I like, and I stay put!
At the risk of revealing my age, (which my kids still think is late 20’s, even though they are also in their teens and twenties), I have now been in business long enough to have a couple clients who’ve been hiring us regularly for the last 20 years! (I’ve even had the opportunity to entertain at the birthday party of a child whose parent had me at his own birthday party as a child!)
Then I did some research and discovered that most of our clients have used us for 10 or more years!! And this filled me with a deep sense of gratitude.
Loving the Loyalty: Why our customers keep coming back
Last weekend, I had the privilege of face painting for a Union which has been using us twice a year since 1999! Most of the picnic-goers were young and didn’t know about our long relationship. But then there were a few of them who acknowledged that they look forward to seeing us each year. And the feeling is mutual!
Knowing we’re not the cheapest entertainment option in Minnesota, I started asking our loyal clients what has them come back each year, and sometimes 2-3 times a year.
Here are some of the answers:
- “I like that I can get everything I need with one call. It saves me so much time.”
- “You are really organized. You even keep notes on how things went last year, so that we can make it better this year. And our events get better and better because of you.”
- “I tried the cheap guys. Never again.”
- “You are usually the one who reminds me that it’s time to start planning the picnic! If you didn’t call me, I’d probably forget until the last minute! 🙂 “
- “Consistency. Your team is always great. And you try to get us our favorites. We appreciate that.” (Note from Lori: I have a couple of artists/entertainers who’ve worked with me for 20+ years! And most of them have worked with me for over 10 years! )
- “We like the fact that we know you and you know us. You’ve watched a lot of these kids grow up.”
- “Because the one year we didn’t have you, everyone asked about you and complained that you weren’t there.”
- “Our attendance at the holiday party increased once we started using your services.”
- “You’ve been doing this a long time, so we trust your expertise.”
Every once in a while, often when there is turnover in a company or organization, the “new hire” tries to be a hero and save the company a lot of money by shopping for the lowest price. I once had a new contact (at a company which had hired us for the last 8 years) ask me if we could lower our prices. She said that her caterer had offered the same package we were offering at 1/2 the price! (It turned out to be a caterer we’d heard of who only hired cheap artists, because they were trying to be heroes to their clients by saving them money, but they still had to make a commission on those artists!) Without revealing what I knew about their caterer, I was able to point out (since I keep notes on everything), that 9 years ago (before they hired us), her predecessor said their artists were late, rude and slow. When I pointed out the difference in value (versus the difference in price), she got it.
Loving the Loyalty: Special Note to Event Planners
If you are a new event planner, I invite you to do your homework and see what your predecessors have done. If everything went well, then your job will be a lot easier and less stressful if you follow their pattern. In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. You have one chance to make this go well, or the kudos for being the frugal hero will vanish when your colleagues complain about the event itself. (Do you really want to be the new kid on the block who drives the annual company event into the ground?) 🙂 If you find out that the event hasn’t exceeded expectations in the past (or even met them), then it’s time to explore and shop and see what else is available.
Approximately 73% of our events are for repeat customers. If you are one of them, thank you for your business, for your loyalty, and for reminding us how blessed we are to be in this business! We truly appreciate you!