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Ep. 105 The Quickest Way to Run Off Your Happy Customers

by | Smart AF Show

Customer Retention Strategies

The Quickest Way to Run Off Your Happy Customers 

Many small businesses spend their entire marketing budget going after new customers, but what about the loyal, happy clients you already have? Too often these guys are left out, ignored, and sometimes even driven away.

In this episode, Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean, talk about how to stop driving your happy customers away and how you can do to create loyal, happy, raving fans that stay, buy more and refer you any chance they get without you having to discount, lose money or pathetically beg.

Listen or watch the full episode below:


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(transcription is auto-generated)

SAF 105

Torie: [00:00:00] You need to have some way that you are rewarding your current customers. In addition to trying to give deals to brand new customers, because I understand that, you know, you want to go out there and fish, you got to have good bait, so you need to have some really nice offers, but don’t piss off your happy customers.

Hey, what’s up. It’s Torie Mathis, your host, and I’m here with the one and only Sean Mathis, founder of Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. 

Sean: [00:00:33] What’s going on. 

Torie: [00:00:34] So you’ll, it’s one thing that really irritates me and I’m sure it irritates you too. And I think it’s a sure way to piss off. Any of your very happy customers.

And that is when you see offers for new customers only doesn’t that make you mad? I think the worst person for it that I can remember was Direct TV. 

Sean: [00:00:57] Worst company. 

Torie: [00:00:58] Well, worst company. 

Sean: [00:00:59] Yeah. What’d they do. 

Torie: [00:01:01] They would always send, so we haven’t had like re regular cable or satellite TV in a really long time. Like we canceled all of that. And we only have like some streaming things like prime and Netflix, you know? But when we did have direct TV, they would always say, Things in the mail and they would even send emails and they would have these fantastic deals, but they were only for new customers. So one like, why the hell are you sending me this?

When I am a current customer like somehow you should have opted me out. And second. What are you offering your customers that have been there a long time? It’s almost like they’re forcing people and maybe that’s the, maybe that’s the thing. Maybe they’re forcing you to stay in for just your first term.

And then they know you’re going to switch to whatever their competitor is and then you’ll come back when their deal. 

Sean: [00:01:48] It definitely sounds like that’s what it did all the time. Was it they lock you in for so long and this great rate that will eventually go away. You’re going to be overpaying for it. And then they expect you to, to jump board and go to their competitor and start the entire process over again. And then you go jump, like, I don’t want to have to do that kind of crap. 

Torie: [00:02:07] No, it’s huge, it’s a huge inconvenience to have to do that. Plus to me, it’s a lot of marketing dollars and man hours to work through all of that stuff, then it seems like even for a big company, to me, it seems like a waste. But I see small companies do this too. And if the big companies can just absorb these types of things, small companies can not. So one example that I have for this is the kid’s karate dojo. So they go to a local dojo here. I have talked about it before on the show and I keep seeing ads right now online. I see them on Facebook when I pop in there every great once in a while. And then I see them also on Instagram and it is for a killer deal. If you go in and join right now. Which was so much better than the deal that we got with. 

Sean: [00:02:55] Well, that happened right off the bat, because I remember you talking about all of a sudden it was essentially the same deal, but the difference being you didn’t have to pay for the uniforms, which adds up, especially with two kids.

Torie: [00:03:05] Well, and they did give us, I think that they did give us a deal since we had two kids. I think we only pay for one of the uniforms, however, and I think we only got like two days for free. And so right off the bat, I saw an ad, you know what? I was kind of holding. Two, when I joined, because I knew that they had a different deal in the fall and it held off and I didn’t see any. And so we just went and joined because I really wanted the kids to get started on it. And then I saw deals for one week free and free uniforms. And I was like, damn, like we just joined. We didn’t get that. Now they have two weeks free and free uniforms. There’s something else too. And I’m like, Hmm, kind of just leaves a little dirty taste in my mouth.

Not that I want to be cheap. It’s just that I, it just reminds me of the Direct TV thing. Why, what are you doing for your current customers? Like that is cool. Like totally have things for your new customers, because really you do need to make sure that you are always having people in and there’s like little deals and stuff are awesome.

Sean: [00:03:59] But then what are you doing for your current customers? We have Which is no longer ATT who bought them. T-Mobile is now, well, no, no, no we skipped. 

Torie: [00:04:07] We did have AT and T we ended up going to sprint and now there’s no rent is T-Mobile. 

Sean: [00:04:13] So while it was 18 T though, right. Cause that was the last one. We wound up grandfather did great. Yeah. There was something we were grandfathered in and then next thing you know, like that we wound up getting. Is it Disney plus or Hulu or one of them, where they bundled all this other crap that they give you into it? But the thing is that they did that to keep us, which I think is the first time I’ve ever experienced any of these large companies where they’re unwilling and maybe that’s because all these phone companies are being absorbed by each other.

And they’re like, there’s nowhere for you to go. So, you know, take these freebie things, which again, if you’re talking Hulu, any of these streaming devices, like it’s all a numbers game, right. So why not? Out of the blue gives that to your customers I remember what it was, it was Riley wanting a phone and I wound up getting an email from him and it was, yeah. And it was so in it, they said freedom. Just add the phone. And I was like, well, we’ve got an extra phone. Riley’s been wanting these phones. He doesn’t need to make a whole lot of phone calls obviously, but we could get ahold of them and he’s got, you know, the service on it. 

Torie: [00:05:19] That is exactly. So I think more companies and especially your company if you’re a small business that you need to have some way that you are rewarding. Your current customers, in addition to trying to give deals to brand new customers, because I understand that, you know, you want to go out there and fish, you got to have good bait, so you need to have some really nice offers, but don’t piss off your happy customers today. 

Sean: [00:05:41] Like literally today I got an email from some veteran email thing that I got that was talking about Verizon and their military discounts for phones. I was like, wow. Let’s see what it’s all about. Cause in my mind, I’m still thinking DirecTV and dish, you know, like they’re, they’re always, they want me to bounce back and forth. I’m like, what the hell we’ve been there for a while? Let’s see if it’s better. I looked, it’s not like what we have because they’ve kept us for so long and made it that much more appealing. Like we’ve got the military discount, we’ve got the free extra line. We get the extra streaming service. It’s all unlimited. Verizon can’t touch it. It would be such a hassle. 

Torie: [00:06:17] Well, and none of those things really, they didn’t say we’re going to give you half off your bill. They were just adding little bonuses because you don’t have to discount your services for your current customers. There are other ways that you can reward them for their loyalty. You can reward them for how much time they’ve been in. So maybe we did cross that threshold of time that they were like, okay, as a loyalty bonus. Have a free line on us. Like it’s not really costing them anything. And now. Why would we leave?

We have all these great little bonuses, and some of them like the streaming service is completely unrelated to even our phone service. So if you’re trying to offer your customer something, it doesn’t even have to be something completely related to your service. You can partner with somebody else and maybe both of you do those types of things. So I’ve come up with there’s I think there’s three really great ways that you can reward your customers. So that you can keep them so that they’ll be happy. And so that if they do see some of these other things that you’re trying to bring people in that maybe you’re not going to upset them. And so the first one is definitely a loyalty type of bonus that you can give them. And this would be for customers and maybe current customers that have been with you for a while that you could give them so that they are, you know, happy to stay with it. 

Sean: [00:07:29] And a lot of that is perceived value. I mean, it could literally be value. It could be something that you would have done anyway. But you make a big deal out of it. You know, it’s, it’s like like a meal at a fast food chain where you’re getting fries, a burger, and a drink. They’re going to give you fries and a drink with the meal anyway. But if, if they, if it was a new market thing and they’re like, we’re going to give you these free fries and you’re going to get a free drink.

And all you got to do is pay for the burger. You’re like, holy hell. But in reality, you’re paying for all that. You’re getting it all. Anyways. They were going to give it to you anyways. But there’s that perceived value that you got this cool extra stuff? 

Torie: [00:08:06] Well, I’ve seen some people like so more personal brands do it. I don’t, I haven’t seen a lot of companies do it, but they say that like for their subscribers only, like it’s a special email that you get, you get, you know, special things in this email. So you can always do something like that that are for customers only. And to make it sound exclusive. People don’t know if it’s exclusive or not. Maybe you do send an extra email or you do have some special, like a special day or a special, you know, different things that you can do for your customers just to show their loyalty. Even if you had some type of fun, little open house, like you could do that for Miles Through Time. Maybe for members, you could have an open house and have some appetizers or something.

Sean: [00:08:44] So then I know of other museums. One particular is the edge motor museum, and I’m in contact with them all the time on social media, they’re up in Tennessee. And they just recently, during our big annual car show had a members only unveiling, which was pretty neat. So they invited members of the museum to actually, they were the only ones that were able to come to the museum and see this available.

And then they also opened it up online with a Facebook live video or Instagram, one of those where it was that’s, that’s where they were also doing the unveiling. But from an important standpoint, you. I’d want to be a part of that museum as a member, to be able to be invited, to do those kinds of things because it makes them feel important. And in the scheme of things, the museum was going to unveil it anyways. Right. They’re going to show everybody anyways. So it was no skin off of their back, but they were able to make something out of nothing, essentially. 

Torie: [00:09:34] And we talk about that all the time, making things out of nothing, making events, making things seem special. If you’re going to have something normally like an unveiling, why not figure out some way that you can. Somebody feels special about it. And it doesn’t always have to be brand new people. And I think so much effort and so much money is taken on new customers, trying to get new people, new people, new people that you forget about the ones that have been with you this whole time.

So if you can, whatever you’re having going on, try to make it something like that, that you make it special for your, your current customers. I think that that is a fantastic thing. So loyalty was my first. Second one I have is a referral. I think, oh, you know what, actually, I have one more thing. There are some things for these loyalties that I have seen gone wrong.

And I have talked about Gibbs Garden before because I love their emails. They do a fantastic job of email marketing and it’s like a botanical garden type thing. They send an email every single week, but they do it in a way that they’re always saying what’s going on. They make it very interesting. I have, I think I, yeah.

Been members for maybe like nine months now. And I have opened every single email because every single one though, it’s the same format. They’re showing different things that are blooming. And I always open it. However, during their off season, they have these like members only discounts and it was like members only discounts for a membership.

Like, why aren’t you sending me? Like, I’m already a member. Why are you telling me you’re going to offer me 50% off a member? It is in no way helping me at all. So there isn’t like, you have to make sure it makes sense and not just trying to give them a deal on what they already have, because that is a little bit strange.

So now the next one I have is referrals. I think that if you have some type of referral program, Fantastic. So the karate dojo, I have never seen them do anything with any type of referral. And we worked with a TaeKwonDo. We had a client that was a TaeKwonDo studio a long time ago. And we did like a buddy pass system for them that we gave all of the kids, these little buddy passes.

So if somebody came and brought that back in, then they ended up crediting them for their meds. They have absolutely nothing. I think they’re really missing out on that. Especially if you’re showing all the ads and stuff like that on Facebook and Instagram and people are seeing all these deals, like, what are you doing to like, just make those people feel special because.

In these types of businesses, like if you’re a trainer or an accountant, something that people are paying every month and coming all the time, like, how are you making them feel special? Because there’s a million other ones out there that are offering them great deals, just like DirecTV or sprint or Verizon plus shit.

You give them, you’re giving them an opportunity to get what they’re already enjoying, you know, at a lower cost, if not paid for it. Plus you’re then getting more customers or clients it’s a win for everybody. And so you may be thinking like, well, I don’t want to take some of my pet, my, the money that I’m getting and, and have less of that because I’m getting referrals.

And I can understand that, like, especially if you know you, you’ve got your system worked out that it’s so much a month, you don’t want to end up cutting yourself, but remember it’s perceived value. You don’t have to discount. So karate dojo these kids go through. Okay. So our kids go three times a week right now.

And that means that they go through their uniform three times a week, which means we are constantly doing laundry and you can only wear their clothes there. And so they do have other t-shirts and tank tops and things like that. And so they do sell those there and I guarantee they’re making a killing on these shirts.

So why not have that be something that you would refer, like some type of gear or a t-shirt or a tank top, or maybe there’s an exclusive shirt. That’s only for people that refer, you know what I mean? There’s like all these different ways that you can do it, that you can get a $5 shirt and make somebody like thanks so much for referring us.

And that’s the way that you’re not taking money necessarily out of your pocket. You’re not discounting yourself because you don’t want to discount all of your services every single time. There are other things that you can do in order to make people feel special, to make them more loyal to you. Without having to go in your pocket.

I think the, the unveiling thing, like, that’s a really nice thing too. Maybe for people who are referred, they have some type of little party for them, like once a month or once a quarter. And they take them out to the bounce house place because karate and bounce houses sounds awesome together.

There’s other things that you can do other than just discounting. Yeah. Anybody else that does any referral programs that you like that are like, yeah, I don’t think people do them enough. I think that getting your customers to like go out there and refer to their friends. Because people hang out with people that are like them.

Like if they’re already a good fit with you, like their friends are probably a good fit with, for you to their families, probably a good fit. Like it’s a really great way to multiply your business. And I don’t think enough people use it, utilize it. 

Sean: [00:14:13] That that would be a, something recurring, like something your, your customers or clients are continually going back or paying multiple times for those are the easiest ones because. I mean, it’s so easy to recoup anything that you think you might have lost. I mean, you don’t have to make it even forever. Like, you know, I give them the shirt for a referral, you know, half off their next month’s membership, whatever that is. But then, you know, meanwhile, you’ve got a whole nother one on top of that, that you didn’t have.

Torie: [00:14:46] See to me, that sounds like an accounting nightmare. Like being somebody that has done the books, like to figure out like who gets a month here, like I could see how that would be stressful for people, especially if they’re really small, feel like if you’re giving people money, half off and stuff like that, like that, could, it can get a little hairy.

Sean: [00:15:02] But we also live in the 21st century. So I guarantee this software that a, I mean, you could probably get as complicated as you want. I wouldn’t, I would do it the simplest way possible. And if that means, you know, everyone that brings somebody else in, I, I toss a t-shirt at them, then that’s it. You know, thank you. Because ultimately it’s still a business.

You still need to make money. And I think your customers are going to understand that they don’t get it for free just because they brought somebody else in because. It becomes a wash. Right. Do you know? And that’s not good for business. And I think a lot of people know that and if they’re loyal enough already to have been paying you for as long as they have, and they’re encouraging their buddies to come in.

You’re good. I mean, I really wouldn’t worry about it. If you. If you can give them something extra, that’s probably the best thing you can do. And it makes them feel appreciated. And if you can give them something that has your branding on it, that’s a total win. I mean, now, now they’re out there representing completely for free. Now somebody could possibly see that shirt and be like, ah, I want to go check that out. And they didn’t even talk to him. So none of the referral fee is relevant. You just got new clients and customers. I mean, there’s. There’s endless possibilities. 

Torie: [00:16:14] And so the last one that I thought of was it was like a membership or private deals or different things like that. And so we did kind of hit on that and I think doing things like the special shirt or some type of special event for your longtime clients or making it so that if they’re like a longevity thing, like after a year you get something super fantastic because then people have something to look forward to.

And if you can always have that carrot in front of people that they might get something, or they will get something the longer they’re a client, because it’s just like the checking off boxes. Like everybody wants to check off those boxes, you know and get every day. So if you do something after a certain amount of time kind of like, like you always talk about like the belts, Sean loves the fact that they give belts out at karate because it’s always something to aim for and you know where you’re going.

You know, if you put in this much time, right. If you put in as much time, if you put in this much effort, you know, you’re going to get this one. And then after that, there’s this one. And so I think you can do that same type of thing for your customers. Maybe that’s something you could do for Miles Through Time maybe if somebody is a member for a year, they get like a special pin or, you know, sometimes. 

Sean: [00:17:14] But a lot of the bigger museums do that though. They’ll have volunteers in there and after so many hours, they wind up getting, you know, awards for that kind of stuff. So it makes it so that those volunteers are like, I, you know, I put it in. 1500 hours and they get this giant recognized party or recognition party saying, Hey, they volunteered for 1500 hours. 

Torie: [00:17:34] Do that. I think we need to have a Miles Through Time party for our volunteers and for people that are founding members and people that are just members. I think that’d be really nice. See giving them something to make them feel special, to make people appreciated because I think it’s those little teeny things.

Like if they did a little tiny thing like that for DirecTV like we wouldn’t have bounced back and forth. I would have been like, oh, like they kind of care about it 

Sean: [00:17:58] With like DirecTV. And so like, why would you. Why would you not just give us the deal that you’re you are giving? Like when the alternative is that we leave, just give us the damn deal.

Torie: [00:18:08] Right? So I was doing some different financial things. And one of the things that they were always said is like, call all of your people and try to get them to get your bill down. And it is amazing that almost all of them will like, if you just call them, like, even you, like what you did with the gas, what did you do to get our gas? So cheap Sean our gas so cheap. It’s amazing gas, right? 

Sean: [00:18:26] No, I just contacted them and they gave me the current rates. And then they’re like, after the two years, it’s going to go up, but just call again and you’ll get to, 

Torie: [00:18:34] But you said the other people will give me this rate and they’re like, no, no, don’t go there. We’ll match their rate. Right. So you just, by asking, he got a lower rate and it is so much lower than we have ever had for gas that we have a pool heater, that’s gas, and we’re like, run that shit. Who cares? Okay. So low, it doesn’t really matter, but we’ve never asked for that before. So in some of these financial programs, the thing is, is that you call all of your people and ask for a lower rate, your credit cards, your direct TV, whatever it is.

See if you can get a deal. And almost everybody I called gave us a deal, except for that damn direct TV. They would just that I’m like, well, let me talk to your manager. Well, I’m going to leave for this while I see. And then, so I would try all these different ways I would call back, like, I’ve done this multiple times.

Like when we were like, you know, moving and growing our business and we were trying to be a little bit thrifty and stuff like that. I had, they would never budge. 

Sean: [00:19:27] So it’s been years now. We don’t have direct dish. Like if you’re, if you’re still paying for that stuff, getting up to get rid of it. What was, you know, easily 150 plus dollars for a bunch of shit channels.

You don’t want. Gone. 

Torie: [00:19:40] Yeah, I think we pay less than 50 bucks and we have, 

Sean: [00:19:43] Netflix has gone up monthly from what it used to be. We get for free. All the other streaming devices are connected to other services that you probably don’t have a choice. Like the phone bill they’ll, I looked Verizon is going to give you a Hulu and a Disney, you know, and that’s just one. And we have, which is now. T-Mobile team. Can’t keep them all straight. We’re getting multiple streaming devices from that there. The internet in a house gives us another streaming device for free. It’s either Hulu. It’s one of them. So we pay for Amazon Prime and Netflix. And yet we have HBO plus Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. And between those, I mean, we can watch pretty much whatever it is we want to watch. 

Torie: [00:20:27] And because we had those, we’d be less likely to go shop out those things. So people will go and shop you, whatever it is that you’re offering, they will go look for a lower price unless they feel appreciated. Like people that feel appreciated won’t go somewhere else. They won’t even look. I would never leave Sean and Tori because I love them. You know what I mean? Like, so if you’re not doing anything like that, it’s a possibility that you have clients leaving you, that won’t leave you if you just do something special for them. And I don’t think it has to be difficult or hard. 

Sean: [00:20:56] Some type of appreciation.

Torie: [00:20:59] No, it doesn’t have to mean that you cut the money that you’re getting in monthly from them. You don’t have to discount. There are other ways that you can do it. So by using some type of loyalty program, by giving people incentives or special deals, or maybe a special event for their longevity, when they’ve been a client for so long or having some type of referral program, all of these three ways are ways that you can get your clients, your current customers to never leave you.

And if you’re not doing that, Only going after new people. The way that you’re going to piss off your happy customers. 

Sean: [00:21:30] Yeah. Or even like, say you’re the pizza place and you got a customer that goes in there and purchase a pizza from you. All you have to do. And we’ve seen this before is even if it prints out on the receipt.

Cause again, there’s software that does all this stuff that you don’t have to think about, but it says, you know, bring this receipt in on your next visit and you’re going to get free drinks with your pizza. Now they have to, your customer has got to make the decision. Do we go somewhere else to eat pizza where we’re going to have to pay for our own drinks?

Or do we go back to the place that it was a great time? Good pizza. And we’re going to get free drinks. Like they’re going to come back to you and it didn’t. What your, your bookbag in the box. So like there was no, you don’t have to worry about any money lost in that. 

Torie: [00:22:10] Right. Just a regular drink because they didn’t pay drinks.

Sean: [00:22:13] So probably going to buy an appetizer on top of it, you know, and you’re going to make more money that way. 

Torie: [00:22:18] Yeah. You definitely want to give them something rather than discount it. So don’t say half off your meal, but give them something that they have a perceived value of so that you’re not losing out on money.

That’s it? That’s the kid ticket. Make your clients feel appreciated and they will stay with you forever. So we hope that you enjoyed this episode. If you didn’t know, we have new episodes, every single Tuesday and Thursday, they come out and we would love it if you would come join us for another, if you don’t want to miss an episode, you can sign up for updates at Toriemathis.com.

We also have lots of great resources, free resources for you to help you grow your business. Use your time wiser and other ideas like this that you can help get more profits, get more clients more leads into your business. So I’ll see you on the next one. Thanks.

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Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

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