reblogged by Keith Dickinson
That Old-Time Customer Loyalty Feeling
by Don Peppers
We can easily define customer loyalty as a metric of success, but sometimes it makes more sense to think of it as a feeling.
At a 2011 business conference Jason Sadler, founder of iwearyourshirt.com and a highly creative marketer, related an anecdote about how Best Buy had helped him find the right flat-screen television. Apparently his living room had unusual lighting and dimensions, and he didn’t really know what parameters were important, so he tweeted out an appeal. Anyone know anything about flat-screen televisions?
As he told the story, he soon received a reply from Best Buy asking him what the dimensions of his room were, and then where the light came from in the room—what side of the room were the windows on, and how big were they? After a number of such back-and-forth tweets, Best Buy recommended a particular type of television for him.
This, Sadler said, was amazing. He had been completely sold by a series of Twitter interactions. So he went to the Best Buy store and found the television that had been recommended to him. However, as he was in the store, prepared to buy, he decided to use his smart phone to search online for the same model, and guess what? He found it on Amazon for a lower price. What should he do? What would you have done?
Although his conscience pained him, Sadler said, he elected to save the money and bought the product from Amazon. But he tweeted back to the Best Buy folks to let them know, and their message back to him was something like “well, we’re glad we could help. Maybe next time…”
Ever since, however, as Sadler related this story to the business conference, he has looked for every excuse imaginable to patronize Best Buy. He goes to the Best Buy store for routine things, even when it’s out of his way. He recommends Best Buy to friends who are in the market for electronics. And tells this story everywhere he goes.
So my question to you is, did Best Buy benefit or not from their interaction with Sadler? Was it stupid or smart for them to spend time simply helping a customer find the right product to meet his need? The fact is, they lost the sale in the end, right?
Yes, and they lost it for the same reason many other brick-and-mortar retailers are losing sales to online companies—because the world is now completely transparent to customers armed with smart phones and connected 24-7 to the ’net. Why shouldn’t a customer simply find the lowest price before buying a product? After all, in this kind of immediate buying situation, the products being compared are virtually identical. They are probably mass-produced by the same company at the same plant, so if one is even a dollar cheaper