Some people seem to have better luck navigating customer service than others. But as the Wall Street Journal explains, that likely has little to do with actual luck and more to do with something called customer lifetime value, or CLV. If you have a high CLV score, chances are you'll spend less time on hold and get extra TLC from customer service reps. You might, for example, get that airplane seat upgrade over someone with a lower CLV rating. Companies use their own metrics to determine such scores, but the general rule is that if you shop a lot and don't return stuff or make complaints—and all of this type of behavior is easy to track—you'll have a solid score. Or scores, plural. Everyone probably has several with various companies.
"There's no free lunch," a Harvard marketing professor tells the newspaper. "The more profitable you are, the better service you will get." General demographics play a role—a married middle-aged woman is probably going to get faster service on the phone than a single guy in his early 20s, according to data scientists interviewed. If those two people called to cancel a service such as a credit card or a cable package, the perks they are offered to change their mind will be different, too. Curious about your own CLV rating? Good luck with that. Unlike credit scores, these aren't publicly available. "There needs to be a public conversation around the accuracy of the scores being used," says one privacy advocate. Click to read the full story. (Read more consumers stories.)