I've been heads down riding the explosive growth of MeezNation since it launched, so I haven't had time to blog recently, but it was time to get back to it.
A business always has to consider what it will do to retain its top customers. In many cases, the firm focuses too much on attracting new customers with better deals rather than retaining its best current customers - e.g. I routinely receive Comcast notices at my house offering a better deal to new customers than the one I currently have with them. So what customers naturally should do is periodically look at their vendor relationships to see if they can get a better deal, like what we all do each year when our cable bill goes up and we threaten to leave.
This has recently happened to me with our Meez credit/charge card vendor, American Express. I opened an OPEN account when Meez started. It's a small business focused-account which is personally guaranteed by me, and we charge almost everything at Meez through it. Over 3 years, this number has grown each month to where we now charge more than $100,000 a month on it, we always pay on time (since I'm guaranteeing it), and we never call customer service.
However, the issue I recently encountered is a lack of customer segmentation by American Express - basically, we receive no additional benefits beyond what a person who charged $1,000 a month would get. The service isn't bad - it's just that Amex is probably booking $35K a year in charge fees, and they have literally no extra costs from our account vs a smaller one - it's all margin. For a small business account, we're probably in the top 5-10% of their users. The PLUM card gives us 2% back if we pay in 10 days, but again, I get no extra value for my additional charge volume, meaning my guess is there are other vendors who might want to compete for our business.
So I called their customer service group, whom i have never spoken with, and made my case to them. The good news is that they're being responsive to my threat to leave, and a very pleasant and smart woman has repeatedly insisted that Amex provides enough value that I should essentially be happy with the service. The bad news is that they apparently have no way to value my business in a way that's meaningful for me.
So here is my proposal to anyone in the credit card/financial services field reading this blog: make me an offer to take over the Meez credit card business - clearly it has to involve some type of benefits to Meez which are substantially above what other smaller customers receive, but I leave it open to each company to decide what that deal is. I'm happy to provide past financial statements to make my case.
And American Express? Well I admire their confidence in their overall service offering that they don't feel the need to do anything substantial to retain our business, but I'm not sure that losing my entire account over this confidence is a good move. However, every business makes this call - what should we do to retain top customers?