How fragile is it? Why do you support a restaurant brand? With so many restaurants competing for stomach share it is imperative to your brand’s long term success to create customers that are apostles of your brand.
A recent case-in-point. I’ve been a loyal American Airlines customer for over 25 years and during that time I have accumulated over 5 million air miles (that’s a lot!). As a long-time customer deeply entrenched in their “loyalty program,” I often times sucked-up many travel and scheduling inconveniences to support my brand of choice. In the early years I was a big fan of American and my Platinum status actually meant something to me. However, recently, I have come to experience that American does not go out of their way to make my check-in stress free, or even make me feel comfortable during the flight. Do they really care about me? With poor service like this, I don’t think so and i feel my brand loyalty is slipping away.
On a recent business trip to New York I had the opportunity to fly Virgin America. Even though I have no special VA frequent flyer privileges all I can say is “wow I was impressed!” Not only was the fare cheaper than my “choice carrier” the check in was pleasurable and stress free. Moreover, the aircraft was newer, I had free TV and Internet service. Virgin America exceeded my expectations at every given opportunity and I must say, my heart has turned to another. Simply put, a brand will only receive my loyalty if they meet and exceed my expectations, and in this instance, Virgin America won me over.
In today’s competitive environment I believe brand loyalty is extremely fragile and if you’re not exceeding your customer’s expectations, even from the smallest greeting , customer’s can and will turn away from you in an instant since there are so many other establishments that have service basics down and know how to treat a customer. Check out our previous post, It’s all about the little things, which mentions the importance of the details that will retain your customer’s loyalty.