What have you done for to keep customers loyal to your brand?Are you brand loyal? Are your customers brand loyal to you? Does it matter? It sure does.
Why do some companies work so hard to keep a customer and so many work so hard to annoy them only to beg them to come back? Why do some companies have great products and services and why do some have horrible customer service and failed executive policies? What do you think happens to them? The problem is these days people talk. They post. They tweet. Now more than ever, buzz and customer opinions count.
The reason why I chose to blog about this because recently is because I began to think about what brands I am loyal to and what brands I deal with who don’t care.Why do some companies treat new customers better than their old ones. It is sort of like that Ally Banking commercial. You should treat your best customers better than new ones because they have been loyal to you.
Top Ten answers on the board: Name your favorite companies that encourage brand loyalty.
For me, here here are some (but not all) of my favorite brands
Allstate Insurance – ever since I worked for them in my twenties, I have always had Allstate Insurance. They always give me top service. The more products I have with them, the better deal I get. The few claims that I have had overthe years were taking care of promptly. They live up to their name “You are in good hands”. My agent and his assistant are always on top of things I have never had any reason to shop anywhere else.
Sprint – Ever since I was a Nextel customer in 1995, When Sprint bought them out, I stayed with them. They even assigned me a corporate rep who constantly got me into new phones, sometimes before my contract was up. Too bad Apple had prohibited them from discounting the iphone. But I will wait. They have awesome service and great pricing and I don’t feel screwed by them.
Southwest Airlines – ever since a client of mine put me on a Southwest flight last year, I became hooked. Even though I have to drive 45 minutes to Midway when O’Hare is closer, Southwest makes it less painful to fly. Their prices are usually competitive, bags fly free (so their isn’t a hidden charge), the seats are roomier (like United ‘Economy Plus), all of the staff are friendly and go out of their way to be helpful, and for just $10 more I can be seated first and choose my seat. I just want an aisle with access to overhead bins. All other carriers are full and there is never a selection. I don’t care that their planes are the “Yugo” of airplanes – no frills, little food, or power ports. I will bring a battery, my own entertainment, and my own food. It used to be American Airlines slogan “we love to fly and it shows” … too bad Southwest can’t take it because it fits them perfectly. I only wish Southwest flew out of O’Hare.
Princess Cruise Lines - After sailing on three different cruise lines, I have to say I liked Princess the best. They are very nice, the food is great, and for a couple who doesn’t have kids, more adult orientated. And the best part, when I went to book another cruise, they gave me a discount over new passengers. This is important because you will see at the end of this post , that one company I deal with gives new customers a better deal than an old loyal customer.
Choice Hotels – Always clean, I always try to book choice hotels because all of their brands are more competitively priced than other 2 and 2 1/2 star hotels. I don’t need frills. Just a clean room, breakfast, internet, a pool, etc. I shouldn’t have to pay for “Extras” or resort fees. It boggles my mind why two star hotels give you more than four star hotels. I don’t like four star hotels. Choice Hotels, Comfort Inn, etc are my favorite . And they reward me with a free night every now and then for being loyal. And they always give me the best rate, sometimes better than AAA rates.
General Motors – every vehicle that I have purchased in the past fifteen years has been a GM vehicle – for both work nd personal. I just feel they generally care about their cars and think that they are designed the best. And General Motors gives you $500 extra for new cars for brand loyalty.
Panera Bread – great food and every so often I get rewarded with a f ee extra treat
Amazon and Ebags are awesome — they have the best prices and unbeatable customer service. If you don’t like something with Ebags, you can send it back, at their expense. Gives me confidence to buy. Amazon has a lenient policy as well.
Menards - a regional home improvement store with lenient return policy and competitive prices. Contrast that to Home Depot in the next section Plus they reward loyalty with discounts on their credit card.
There are more examples. I just wanted to set up who is doing it right so I can show you how some do it wrong.
Name your least favorite companies.
The reason why I listed some of my favorite companies is because I want to point out that some companies get it while others do not. We aren’t going to protect the guilty. Here are some companies that have lost or will lose my business.
Parkway Bank and Trust – is a regional bank. After twelve years of being a customer, my business debit card was stolen and used fraudulently. I thought I could trust this company to solve the problem quickly. It took over nine months to recover only half of my money. Because of their failed policies and incorrect interpretation of the regulations, they lost a customer that was not even thinking of going anywhere else until they indifferently reacted to fraud and claimed “it’s not our problem”.
Home Depot -- I used to like them, but this company was a party to credit card fraud in the above scenario. When called them out, even at the executive level, they insisted they were right and could take my money even without a valid signature. With only $500 in question, they lost out on thousands in current and future home improvement projects because I don’t do business with unethical companies. Penny wise, pound foolish
Public Storage — the most recent issue and what got me thinking about brand loyalty. We have had multiple units of Public Storage for over ten years (even before they took our main property which was Shurgard). So when it was time to get a small unit in another city to store trade show materials, I didn’t even think of going anywhere else. The first year, they gave me a 5X5 at a web special. But this year, we wanted to upgrade. So we went on their web site, under our account, and reserved a 5X10 (which was running less than what we were paying for a 5X5 — score). However, I got a nasty call from the property manager saying that I wasn’t entitled to the best rate because it was only reserved for new customers. They consider my upgrade a transfer and would charge me full rate. A call to the district manager resulted in the same bad policy (and only after ten attempts – her rarely returned phone calls)
Meanwhile, I found out if I transfer properties at Public Storage or leave all together for seven days, I am entitled to the discounted rate. When I put in for closing my old unit because I was getting a new one, corporate customer service called almost begging to see what they could do to save my business. When my reservation was cancelled, I got an email survey asking what they did wrong. I told them. Public Storage doesn’t treat it’s current customers better than new ones and only will give you better deals when you leave or have left. Why should I have to leave, transfer properties, or play paperwork games to be treated fairly? They did the opposite of the above companies. Instead of rewarding me for my loyalty and bringing them additional business, they punished me for it. If I moved out to a competitor in seven days, who says I would come back? Whether we stay with Public Storage with all of our units, will determine how this eventually plays out. One bad experience can the entire bunch and years of loyalty.
Remember this rule: It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose them.
All of the above comments, both good and bad were unsolicited.
Which leaves me to my final point. Even in this tough economy, you should do what you can do keep your current customers and attract new ones, to have your customers raving about you in a blog, not complaining about you.
Game Show Gurus can help by enhancing your trade show booth, creating an event marketing event, or bringing team competitiveness to an awards or sales meeting. We are a great way to encourage brand loyalty and create a positive 360 experience. We attempt to have our clients coming back by giving repeat customers even more and try to keep their costs from rising.
Thanks for visiting our site and our blog. We hope to work with you soon.
Until next time.
Executive Producer / President