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customer experience, Big Data

How regular maintenance can equal real brand loyalty

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
May 26 2016,
updated
October 17 2020

I had no idea I was so high-maintenance. Keeping me running smoothly is it seems almost a full-time job, and one I’m expected to manage alone. But it wasn’t until I set my mind to thinking of the various service providers I engage with on a regular basis, that I realised just how many of them there are

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker

Ok, I’m exaggerating…slightly. But there is a list that includes (amongst others) a hairdresser, dentist and chiropodist, all of whom I see regularly and who know me well. Widen the search and there’s a raft of others. The guy that services and MOTs my car, the gym where I (don’t) work-out, the company that delivers my organic veg order, the lawn-maintenance people tasked with keeping my garden the envy of the neighbours, etc., etc.

Don’t be a stranger

Each of these keeps personal (though, of course, wildly different) data about me. They have an insight in to my life and regular access to my hard-earned cash. Between them they could paint a pretty accurate and detailed picture of yours truly. Yet months can pass and I don’t hear from them. Not one of them calls to see how I am or gets in touch with a special offer for an associated product or service. Even when it’s time to renew or re-buy something I’ve had from them before, there’s no SMS, email or direct mail to remind me or tempt me back.

At work it’s no different. While suppliers might be friendly when I call, seem grateful for my business and keen to deliver a great service, between orders they pretty much maintain radio silence. Anyone would think they didn’t care!

Loyalty? It’s a two-way street

There’s no loyalty anymore. Or so the brands tell us. They may attribute that purely to economics, the “flightiness” of those pesky millenials, or a combination of those and a number of factors, but consumers they say have become fickle. But perhaps we’re just getting our own back. Perhaps our willingness to shop around and move supplier is just a reaction to our perception that suppliers aren’t exactly loyal to us. Because they don’t seem to care.

Big data vs little data

Tesco set the bar with its Clubcard programme and everyone knows that, with some irritating exceptions, Amazon has pretty much nailed the personal shopper play with “your recommendations”. Of course these are big businesses with big data capabilities which makes automating the loyalty play much easier. But that doesn’t mean that smaller businesses shouldn’t emulate their approach, albeit in a simpler (but just as personalised way) and at least appear to cherish and appreciate their customers.

It’s a dog’s life

Annoyingly, my dog is far better catered for. Prime’s own customer, Vets4Pets, has a continuous programme (produced and fulfilled by us) that is tailored specifically to him and sends reminders of boosters/injections and other appointments - Click Here. He’s ambivalent but it’s one less thing for me to remember and means, of course, that at least one of continues to have a shiny coat, is well-groomed and sports a perfect set of gnashers!

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