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  • Loyal Customer?

    Loyal Customer?

    I find it funny…
    How can the marketer ‘own’ the customer? Why should the customer be referred to as ‘loyal’? “You are our loyal customer, you deserve to be rewarded,” we say. Isn’t it derogatory to the customer? Shouldn’t the marketer be loyal instead, and hopefully the customer would reward by buying or if are really lucky, continue to buy and endorse to others.
    This large multi-national bank that held my salary account, had extended me a huge overdraft facility, but then, I moved out of my job – the f & f settlement was in process and the cheque was expected any moment. In the interim, I decided to use the overdraft facility and a crucial Service Tax cheque, with last date for payment due, was in the queue. Calling to enquire about receipt of my f & f cheque, I was informed that I was short of funds and the pending cheque would be rejected. The overdraft had been reduced by half. It took half-a-day of requests, follow-ups etc. to get the bank to just HOLD the cheque for another day. My expected f & f cheque arrived the same day, bringing a pile of money and the cheque was cleared.
    Of course, it is the bank’s money and they don’t owe me anything to be so generous as to clear the cheque with no funds in the bank, but I think they owed it to me that someone wrote to me/ spoke with me just to keep me informed that they had reduced my overdraft limit. I settled my account with the bank, the same day, and moved the remainder of my money to another bank. I am not likely to bank with them again – too tiny to matter? Of course, but it is those small-subtle things that make a customer stay.
    I don’t know if he would agree that this episode could be called breach of loyalty at all, but to still borrow his words – Ashwani may have said something like this “The cup was great, but the coffee was cold”. Doesn’t help.
    The hospitality business has great learnings to offer I think:

    • You are as good as my last experience with you – you may have served me a a great meal yesterday, but today the soup sucks and I think you are no good. Consistency matters.
    • Wow, the food is great but why is the AC so cold (it could also be “Why is it so warm?”
    • Wow, perfect food, perfect service… but hey, there’s no soap in the loo?
    • Great view from the room, nice bed and room service is great, but hey, why must I suffer the noise if the gentleman next door has a bad case of a Delhi Belly?

    The hospitality business appreciates a smile from a guest – they know that they must have done something right to earn it. I also think they understand the value of surprise: When I go to a restaurant, I expect great food; great service; great ambience – that’s what I have paid for. Then one day, the chef walks out of the kitchen, surprises me by greeting me by name and offers to prepare anything special – doesn’t matter if it is not in the menu. Ummm – the meal was just perfect; dessert and coffee follow (the coffee has been specially brewed by her). The cheque doesn’t cover dessert and coffee – “You have our guest many times, the dessert is on the house today. Hope you enjoyed your meal”.Accumulated reward points, to be redeemed at milestones (only to find that the item you received costs half the ascribed value) are not a patch.

    Originally posted on my blogVerbum.

    Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.

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