Someone asked me recently why I have gone to the same Italian barbershop for 27 years - even though the haircuts are often less than exemplary and the location is inconvenient. The answer is simple - I feel valued there and have never been taken for granted as a customer. The level of customer service I experienced 27 years ago is the same as today. There is a television and up to date reading material in the waiting lounge - I am offered beverages, pleasantries are exchanged all around.
My barber 'Sal' knows my name, where I live and what I do for a living. He asks questions, refers back to past events in my life - he is genuinely interested - and as a result I am probably one of his best customers. He always takes the time to thank me graciously and wish me the best '...until next time.'
Earning a new customer - because lets face it - you must earn customers, is an accomplishment but not a win. To win, you must earn and retain that customer. Never take them for granted - even if they are lifers - especially if they are lifers.
When was the last time you genuinely thanked your best customers?