Keep and Earn Business with the Right Incentives


It’s a challenge faced by every type of business—keeping existing customers while attracting new users.

There are lots of facts showing the importance—and difficulty—of doing both.

Twice as many companies—44 percent[1]—concentrate on customer acquisition, while 18 percent focus on retention.

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The problem? Earning repeat business is far easier. Odds of selling to an existing customer are 60 to 70 percent[2], while the probability of landing a new prospect hovers between five to 20 percent.

The struggle was real for family-owned Columbia Utilities – which supplies electricity and natural gas to homes and businesses in New York State and beyond.

New York is one of 23 states[3] that launched a deregulated electricity and natural gas market in the 1990s. A utility owns the infrastructure and distributes energy, while competing providers—such as Columbia Utilities—buy and sell to consumers.

What’s more, the industry saw less demand during the recession, and hasn’t fully recovered.

In the midst of changing times, Columbia Utilities needed a cost-effective way to reward loyal users, all while increasing enrollments.

And it needed an incentive with broad appeal.

In 2013, Columbia Utilities incorporated Cards into its marketing campaigns. The incentive is featured online, and promoted through the sales team.

New customers earn a $25 Card for enrollment. Six cards worth up to $300 are mailed automatically for a year. Existing customers are also rewarded with six cards per year worth $400.

The success even led to expansion. Columbia Utilities customers still earn Cards, and now, so do users in states where its affiliate, PALMco Energy, provides services.

Learn more about how we can help boost your business by visiting

[1] Customer Acquisition Vs. Retention Costs – Statistics and Trends

[2] 15 Statistics That Should Have Changed the Business World – But Haven’t

[3] Electric Deregulation Fact Sheet