Are you loyal to any particular brands? Brandweek’s 2006 Customer Loyalty Awards provide some insight to the leading brands in our 50 states and some of the results surprised me. For example, in Athletic Footwear, New Balance rated higher in loyalty than Adidas and Nike. More startling to me was in the Quick Serve Food category where Subway came out on top. Ugh. I ate there once. Two words: Microwaved steak. Also surprising is the dismal “show” of Coca-Cola in the “10 Teaspoons of Sugar in Carbonated Water” category behind Pepsi and nuclear-glow Mountain Dew.
If you are loyal to a brand, what, if anything would break that loyalty? Based on my experience, price is not a big factor, but the customer experience is. I’ll cite 2 examples in technology and one in automotive service.
Wireless Phone Service: Up until last weekend, I was paying around $160.00/month to Verizon Wireless for my Treo with internet/email capability and Megan’s phone, all on a 2,100 minute/month plan. Verizon is expensive, but my experience with their service has been outstanding. Last weekend I picked up a phone for Jessica and the service in their retail store was just over the top great. A retail associate helped us pick the phone (Pink Razr) and noted because of my company discount, it would cost us exactly $0.00. Everyone in the store appeared to be well trained and very customer focused. I’ll continue to pay high rates to Verizon because of the value of their service.
Digital Cameras: As I’ve written before, I got a bad PowerShot 70. I found out they were offering a “free” repair, so I sent it in. When it was finally returned several weeks later, I discovered the repair parts were used, scratched and not the same color as the camera! I wrote to them on October 22, 2006 to express my dissatisfaction. I’m still waiting for a response. In the meantime, I’ve purchased an HP digital camera and a Sony HD Camcorder for some $700.00. I’m done with Canon. No service, no quid.
Auto Service: Over the years, the Volvo service I’ve received from Bob DiNapoli at European Auto Werks almost makes me want to buy another one. Almost. Since Ford bought Volvo, I think Volvo quality has taken a hit, and Ford’s recent performance does not inspire confidence. Hmmm… but maybe Bob services BMW’s…
What brands are you loyal or disloyal to and why?
Starbuck’s: Coffee and service are both consistently excellent. A personal favorite experience as a consumer.
The Container Store: no big surprise they are consistently voted in the top 10 of the best companies to work for, because the service is very natural…exceptional. People that work there are well trained and just, well, pleasant. Everyone is empowered to make decisions on behalf of the customer.
Nordstroms: In Philly, I had one close to home. They rarely had turnover, so I typically saw the same sales people when I visited. A few months after I moved to MA, I received an envelope from Nordstrom’s that contained another envelope addressed to me at my Philly address that had gotten returned to them. There were two tickets to the MFA enclosed and a note from a store manager that wished me well in my move. She remembered I was an art major…
For as much as I travel, I wish there was an airline or hotel on my list. I find most people are loyal to the best points-program, while I still seek outstanding service.
I’m loyal to Trader Joe’s. If they have it, I buy it there. Other than that, not particularly brand-loyal to anything, although I always seem to buy Glad trash bags.