What is brand loyalty?
To many customers, that’s exactly the way they feel about the companies they are loyal to. They feel invested in your organization. Brand loyalty is like the quote from the movie “Casablanca” – it’s ”the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
As a customer, once you have developed this relationship, it stings all the more if you are treated like the crowd. It’s not “how could they do that,” it’s “how could they do that to me.” Nobody wants to feel invisible to, or slighted by, a company that they have praised in public, or where they have chosen to spend their money.
Once a customer is put off by something, they may decide to continue the relationship. But it will be on a different footing—the warm fuzzy feeling is lost and it will take time to rebuild. Sometimes a lot of time. Sometimes never.
That’s why brand loyalty is so important. Put the customers who have a relationship with you—or who laud you to the skies, or who evangelize and advocate on your behalf—into a special category. They feel entitled to extra care. VIP status. White glove service. Spend time thinking of ways to make them happy, to make them feel pampered.
Take a page from Desk.com customer, One Kings Lane. I ordered a few things from them last year. Not big purchases, just hostess gifts and stocking stuffers. Just before the holidays I got a package of beautiful embossed cards to use for my thank you messages. With a personal message from the co-founders tucked on top, thanking me for my business. So classy and memorable.
These customer relationships can be hardy, but once broken, hard to rebuild. So don’t send customers senseless rote emails. Don’t make robocalls to them. Don’t offer them a “gift if you join now” when they’ve been with you for 15 years (the final straw that killed my relationship with the doyenne of domesticity, Martha Stewart). Don’t ignore them with “donotreply” correspondence.
Because, just like in the movie, they can always just hop a plane for Paris and leave you in the dust.