Boss Lady

Tiered customer loyalty


Does surprise and delight really work? Do you make your customers feel like they are the ‘bride or just the bridesmaid’?

What does the midlevel or B customer respond to?  Just like most of your VIP customers they enjoy being recognised for their loyalty and being accorded special treatment.  What’s a gentle nudge that will move them up in terms of what they spend with you?  They’ll go from being ‘bridesmaids’ to being the ‘bride’.

‘Surprise and Delight’ is used predominantly in the gaming / casino industry, whereby venues treat their guests with gifts that are unexpected and are in addition to the usual membership benefits or their tiered loyalty program.

Now you maybe thinking; “I’m not in that industry so this is not relevant to me”. However, it is very relevant, and the strategy is spreading to other industries. But maybe you look at it another way;  in business we all have the A, B, C and possibly D customers, who are our nightmares as well as our dream customers.

In any business you would know the names of your A clients (and if you don’t, you’d better learn them, as your competitors will).  Many business owners thy spend a lot of time making these A customers or Top Tier Guests feel important and ‘schmooze’ them — and have their team members do the same. However, does all this schmoozing increase their:

  1. Spend
  2. Frequency of purchases
  3. Recommendation and referral to others
  4. Good word of mouth about your business

VIP and Midlevel Customers

Focus on your current — and identify your prospective — VIP Customers (your A level customers).  They are defined as those customers who are most important to the ongoing success of your business.  Typically, they can be high spending advocates and, preferably, loyal, regular customers.

The question is “Should we treat every customer the same?”  Yes and no.  Some customers are much more valuable to you.  Your VIPs desire and deserve special attention. However, all customers should be treated with respect.  Developing customer loyalty pays off by making all customers feel special.  They, in turn, will come more often, spend more and could become VIPs too.

Some businesses pay a lot of attention to the VIP Customer, often making the mistake of ignoring that other vital segment, the midlevel or B Customer who’s a regular customer — and from among whose ranks will come tomorrow’s VIP Customer.

Take for instance the coffee shop you go to frequently. One day they pass you the coffee and the barista says “This one’s on us, thank you for being a VIP Customer”.  What would you do and how would that make you feel?  

  • A big smile on your face
  • Warm and fuzzy feeling inside
  • Singing their praises to everyone as you walk back to work … even strangers in the street waiting to cross the road
  • Writing about it in your next newsletter to your customers
  • Telling your team back at work
  • Telling your friends and family
  • Posting it on Facebook, Twitter and of course the photo on Instagram
  • Go back there more often

For those naysayers out there, you maybe thinking “great … now we have to give away free stuff and then they will expect it all the time”.  NO!  That’s why it is Surprise and Delight, it’s not done all the time for every customer, it doesn’t become an expectation by your customers and it’s separate to your loyalty program if you have one (e.g. loyalty card)

But don’t forget about the new customer, the one you haven’t seen before, make their purchase extra special by giving them a big warm welcome to your business.  Make a fuss and tell them how much you appreciate them coming to your business, especially if they had to walk past or scroll online through businesses offering the same as you, so ask them “Why did you choose us”? Use this feedback and create more opportunities to grow a new market.  

If you are a service based business, it’s lovely to receive a birthday card from you (sometimes it’s the only mail you will get on your birthday as everyone else just posts their wishes online), but what else can you do?  If you have a waiting room you could put in magazines that are current, replacing the dog eared magazines that are still talking about Prince William’s eligibility as a bachelor!!

Look at who is walking through your door. Is the demographic changing?  How can you connect with the various generations in this midlevel group of customers.  

Recently, I read about an American ice cream store that randomly gives an additional scoop of ice cream.  The customers can’t believe it.  A classic ‘Surprise and Delight’ response.

So what is the extra scoop of ice cream in your business and what can you do to make today’s midlevel customers, tomorrow’s VIP Customers?

For more information on the How To? Connect with me via

About Michelle Pascoe

Michelle Pascoe is a Professional Speaker, Trainer, Coach & Author who lives and breathes her passion for customer service, mystery shopping, and team motivation. She is an experienced businesswomen and specialist in every aspect of service operations and processes, and their impact on the customer experience. As an international speaker and accredited trainer and assessor, Michelle combines her extensive experience and specialised knowledge with an absolute commitment to igniting the potential in each and every individual so they can achieve outstanding results.

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