Lifetime Revenue

How long is a lifetime? Never gave it much thought until I heard the term “lifetime revenue” at a Pitney Bowes Users Conference. The spirit of the conversation focused on loyalty driven by great products and great service, boosting lifetime revenue. And ideally, that certainly is the case.

Not quite sure why the term is intriguing to me, as it is not the first time I have heard it.

However, is it loyalty or indifference that keeps us doing business with someone or something else?

A couple examples: (Just a few)

• I have been a cardholder for “x” company since 1988. I pay an annual fee and quite frankly I am not overly satisfied with the company, the benefits or how they handled things during the credit crunch. Some of the perks are beneficial, many I do not use. They are quick telling me when new benefits are added and but do a bad job, when benefits are eliminated. Nothing worse showing up at an airline club and being turned away. But I still carry their card and pay the annual fee.

• My cell phone provider. Cheaper plans are available. Don’t like their changes regarding data usage, but I am grandfathered in, so really was not affected. I am upset over their change in policy for rollover minutes. I have called their customer service line and they have been more than happy crediting disputed (and even non-disputed) amounts and even gave me back my roll over minutes. Are they looking at “lifetime revenue” when they do this? It’s kind of like golf, one good shot and you are back. Kudos to their customer service dept.

• A second cardholder, where I have banked for almost 20 years, found it beneficial to cutmy credit limit by 70% during the credit crunch despite charging and paying off large amounts of merchandise or services on time and in 90 days or less. They also saw fit to raise my interest rate by 9%. The interest rate they charge on the card used to be called “loan sharking” when I was younger. They did raise my credit limit again, as a “valued customer”.

No indifference here. Still carry their card. Pay no annual fee (yet) and I use it once a month to buy Starbucks coffee. The minute they charge me an annual fee, I cancel the card.

• They say the hardest things to find are a good accountant, an honest lawyer and a honest mechanic. My mechanic is the best. He is honest and I trust him. Won’t fix things that don’t need to be fixed. Recommends OEM, refurbished or used parts, when it makes sense and there are never any surprises when I go and pick up my car. Not expensive, but not cheap either. He is young and I would never think about changing.

So what does drive “lifetime revenue”? The product, service, ethics, a great customer service organization or trust? Or is it all of the above?