Are You a VIP? Exploring the Value of Exclusive Services in Business.

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July 30, 2014

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Leading mobile services provider, Safaricom, launched a VIP retail shop dubbed the “Platinum Shop” designed to cater for their high volume spenders. The shop, located in Sarit Center, is exclusive to holders of the Platinum Card- proof of membership to the Platinum Club. This is an invitation-only group open to subscribers spending KES15, 000 per month or more. The perks are exactly as you might expect: designed to inspire envy.

With an exclusive, dedicated customer care hot-line, an assigned relationship manager that members can book appointments with and see at their convenience, and of course the Platinum shop that features access to new smart devices before they launch in the general market, the Safaricom Platinum Club lives up to its hype.

Safaricom is one in a long line of service providers offering exclusive VIP service to customers generating a certain threshold of income for the company. From banks, to airlines to even security companies, VIP clubs and advantages are a growing trend as more and more consumers seek out extra convenience, willing and able to pay extra to make their lives easier.

This valid customer service approach can be applied to logistics as well, for four major reasons. First, consumers offered VIP or exclusive services will feel more valued by the company than those receiving overall homogeneous treatment. This applies both to customers automatically entitled to VIP clubs due to high spending, as well as clients who pay additional fees to access faster, more convenient or flexible service. Such benefits foster customer loyalty: a client who feels respected, valued and treated as a special exemption to rules that apply to everyone else is likely to be highly satisfied, feeling no need to move to competitor firms.

Another advantage of this is that the VIP treatment acts as an incentive for other patrons of the institution. In the Safaricom example, customers who spend KES.10,000 per month may be motivated to up their spending to reach the KES.15,000 limit that allows them to access the VIP services. Similarly, in logistics, current customers can be enticed to provide more business for your firm if there are tangible, exclusive rewards to increased spending above and beyond the norm.

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The VIP service option can also help attract a different caliber of consumers than would usually opt for your services. Using the Safaricom model: say a customer of another mobile network spends the KES.15,000 limit per month at their network and receives no recognition or reward for it. It would be wise for them to switch to Safaricom from the competitor network, where their usual spending threshold is met with enthusiastic VIP facilities. In the same way, you can lure high spenders away from competitors with the promise of increased value for the same amount they are spending elsewhere.

An extension of this would be using the VIP services as a way to differentiate your marketing message. Too often, promotional messages get lost in the noise of advertising by competitors and other industry players. Using the VIP services as a selling point presents a unique message and position for marketing activities of your firm.

The value of treating each and every one of your customers as VIPs cannot be overstated, but the importance of an actual distinct VIP provision can be just as important in a competitive market where customer loyalty is key. What VIP services would you like to see in your service providers?



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