Marketing Practices and the Loyal Customer
Marketing practices are designed to increase sales and profits. Sometimes they help improve the company's image and the brand's productivity. Sometimes those practices raise questions in the minds of consumers.
Take for example those companies who serve well the market with a product or service and earn a following that appears to be self sustaining.
I'm talking about those people who, once pleased with a product or service, never look elsewhere. They're loyal fans to the bitter end. I tend to be that way. I believe in loyalty to those companies that do a good job. It takes a lot to change my mind.
I've come across several situations where the companies themselves turned me off. I'll never go back again, and the companies could have avoided that.
Useless Coupons and Estimate Charges
A car repair servicehad done outstanding work for me – although I thought the service was a triffle expensive at more than $2,600. I planned to be loyal to death because they earned my trust. Within 6 months, the car needed car work a second time. The service rep didn't want to honor a coupon that they'd mailed to me and I'd forgotten at home. There was a $200 charge just to look at the computer to see what was wrong with the car – that was before they began to fix it.This incident was a small thing, but it left a bitter. I figure they never heard about the value of repeat business.
Instructions to Double Usage
On the other end of the spectrum, how many products do we use every day that we follow the directions on the bottle or jar without thinking? How many of those tell us "….and Repeat". Say what? We don't really think, we follow directions, right? And we keep buying. But wait….!
Is this product as good as they say? Why then, do we need to "repeat" and use twice the amount of the product with each use? Sure it doubles the use and speeds up the need to purchase the product again. But is it really necessary? If so, is there a product out there that works – the first time?
Keeping customers is one of the most cost efficient ways a company can maintain profits and market share. It costs a whole lot less to satisfy the customers who trust you already and who are pleased with you and are committed to buying regularly from you than it does to convince a customer to buy your services.
Uneven Pricing Practices
Other companies offer special deals to new customers while increasing the charges for the same services to older customers, thinking the imbalance won't be noticed.
Yet companies keep getting it wrong. Customers aren't the same maleable purchasers of the past. They have access on the internet to the same information that marketers are using to sell to them. They are savy enough to see through, coupons that discount inflated rates, magic marketing words, and uneven pricing structures.
Sadly, instead of properly serving their customers and maintaining good trusting relationships, companies are demanding ever more that their employees focus on sales.
That's fine, but once a company has violated the trust they've earned from a customer they can chalk that customer as a loss.
Corner the Market & Still Lose Customers
Example, I was a loyal devote of a specific Software that had cornered the market over the years. I had used it for more than 13 years and never planned to change. But updating this time was excessively expensive…would have required me to purchase at the same rate as a new user. I looked elsewhere and found an identical – no, a better – software that would do the same tasks at just 10% of the cost. It was a no brainer to switch brands. And I'll never look back.
I don't know what it will take for companies to get smart. Maybe they're just too set on bottom line short-term cost management to understand profitability and corporate sustainability.