A month ago, I had one foot out the door. But a written apology, a promise to improve inventory control, a $20 bribe gift card, and sole source control of our cats’ favored kitty litter have brought me back in the fold. Which got me thinking about customer loyalty.
Life isn’t easy for the modern retailer. Once upon a time, there was a major difference in quality between brands. Nowadays, the truly bad brands have died out and competing house brands may be produced on adjacent lines at the same plant. With major name brands universally available and house brands roughly equivalent, most retailers can not stand out based upon the quality of goods that they carry.
And lacking an advantage in quality, too many retailers respond by aspiring to suck less. Don’t get me wrong, you need to suck less than the competition. But when We Suck Less becomes your be-all and end-all, you are defined by your competition. And every mistake that you make is an invitation to switch.
If you want my loyalty, then you need to provide a relationship centered around me. And trust me, we suck less is only a beginning.