Following-up on my last post on loyalty, Michael Schrage directed me to his article in financial times and it has some very interesting points. Take a look:
Consumers are neither sheep nor fools. They can sense when companies are consistently more loyal to investors, employees and regulators than to the people who buy their products and services. They behave accordingly. Customers are not being disloyal; they are being discriminating. The central marketing question confronting brand leaders therefore is not "how can we radically increase customer loyalty?" but "how can we radically increase our own loyalty to customers?"
Often, it is not the brand attribute of flawless service but the real-world performance in rapidly recovering from a mistake that wins customer loyalty and return business. Examples are legion: airline reservationists who waive "change fees" for inadvertently misbooked flights or mobile telephone operators who politely and without complaint remove rightly disputed charges from the bill. These are less acts of "customer service" than demonstrations of loyalty to customers.