For a long time now, consumers have told us they feel that broadband providers take their long-term custom for granted.
Given that existing customers are typically denied the enticing introductory offers and freebies that suppliers offer new customers, it’s not hard to see why they feel aggrieved.
But things are changing. TalkTalk now extends its cut-price ‘new-customer’ deals to its existing customers.
And today we’ve got the launch of Sky’s new, extensive VIP customer loyalty scheme, which is a similarly welcome development.
With free tickets to the cinema, Premier League and US Masters and DVDs, concierge-style customer support, and kit upgrades up for grabs, Sky VIP isn’t short of sweeteners intended to keep Sky’s 12 million UK and Ireland customers happier with their lot.
Read on as we walk you through what’s on offer.
It’s a loyalty scheme for Sky broadband and TV customers.
But unlike other loyalty schemes operated by telecoms companies, such as O2 Priority, with Sky VIP the breadth and quality of freebies and service improvements to which you’re entitled get better the longer you’re a customer.
Customers are put into tiers, depending on how long they’ve been with Sky.
All customers who sign up instantly get a free welcome gift of a Sky Store Buy and Keep Movie. That’s completely irrespective of how long you’ve been with Sky.
But, as we’ll see, beyond your welcome gift, the rewards to which you’re entitled differ hugely.
Hold your horses. We’re getting to that now. In this section we run through each tier and outline exactly what rewards to expect.
But before we look at them in turn, perhaps the important thing to note is that with each membership you level you’re in, you get the rewards for that level as well those from the tier you were in before.
Sky VIP Silver customers get “money-can’t-buy experiences, exclusive prize draws and free VIP tickets to events across the country from sports fixtures, cinema previews and special events”. Tickets range from Premier League matches to Golf Masters to rugby.
Winningly, the preview cinema screenings are all around the country. So you won’t miss out if just because you don’t live in London or another big city.
Sky is also promising the chance to be in the audience at some of the recordings of their shows. We’ve also been told that there’ll be big competition prizes, one of which is a trip to Iceland to the locations where Game of Thrones is filmed.
Sky VIP Gold customers get free Sky Go Extra, which allows them to download Sky shows and watch them on the move on smartphones and tablets.
It also includes a new channel called Sky Atlantic VIP, which screens new shows 24 hours before they officially air.
That doesn’t include shows that Sky simulcast. So you won’t get a preview of Game of Thrones. But the early-bird line-up will take in Sky Original productions, as well as HBO and Showtime series.
Sky VIP Platinum customers are entitled to a free Sky fibre set-up. And from September, Sky Mobile customers will also be given some extra data to add to the trove they’ve got stashed in their data piggybank.
Sky VIP Black Top-tier customers get a free Sky Q box, Sky Q Mini and free installation, so you can watch TV around the home on multiple TVs or mobile devices and pick up wherever you left off. And access all your recordings on the self-same mobile devices too.
You also get a kind of concierge service, with a dedicated customer service phone number and special advisors. Oh, and you’ll be proffered priority engineer slots too.
But even if you don’t ring the special number for Black VIP customers and opt for the standard number instead, Sky can tell you’re Black VIP member and you’ll be shunted to the front of the queue for assistance.
To enrol in Sky VIP, you’ll need to download the My Sky app for Android smartphones or iPhones and iPads. It’s worth noting, however, that the app isn’t compatible with Android tablets.
Grab it for iPhone and iPad here.
Download the version for Android phones here.
It’s not. You’re eligible to join Sky VIP and reap the rewards if you’re a standalone broadband or TV customer. Or if you take a combination of those services from Sky.
At the moment if you’re a standalone Sky Mobile customer you don’t qualify. But that may change in future.
And, of course, since Sky only launched mobile phone plans this year, Sky Mobile customers wouldn’t be eligible for the higher tiers of membership, anyway.
According to Sky, they’ve got hundreds of thousands of tickets to give away. Most of which will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
There’s no limit to the number of events you can nab tickets for. But there are some restrictions on how many you can swing per event. So don’t expect to take your entire squad with you on a freebie.
In the case of competitions for giveaways, longer-term customers get multiple entries. If you’re Black member you’ll get four entries, while Silver customers just get one.
Sky pledges they’ll be something new every week. But the key thing to note is that new free-ticket offers won’t be added on the same day every week, so it’s smart to check in regularly to see what’s what.
There will indeed be Sky Mobile-related rewards in due course.
As for how rewards might evolve in general, we’ve also been told to expect “more services, more products” and “more rewards going in over time”.
In future, there may even be a system whereby Sky VIP members go to the front of the queue for pre-ordering in-demand smartphones too.
Not up to speed with Sky Mobile? Here’s everything you need to know.