Building Loyalty

Support makes a huge difference in whom I choose to buy products from. A few examples:

  • From the time I bought my first Macbook in 2008, the first unibody version, I was having troubles. It didn’t seem to sit flat on the desk and the CD had a hard time going in. It was just enough to be annoying but not enough to make me want to give up my primary computer for a week or two. About a year later, as I was finally preparing to take the thing into Apple, I dropped it and dented the corner. When I took the computer in, I explained what the problem was originally, that I had dropped the computer, and was willing to pay for it because of my own stupidity. The Apple rep went through all the paperwork and then changed his mind at the very end, comping me the fixes. This happened again last week for a friend who dropped his iPad. I’m partially willing to buy Apple products because they treat me right.
  • In the mid-2000s I bought a bunch of Dell computers.  Even though we bought and paid for Windows XP Pro and even though the disk said Windows XP Pro, when we went to reinstall, the version of the OS was Windows XP Home. I called Dell to get a replacement disk and the guy refused to send me one, eventually sending me to a manager who begrudgingly sent one out. It took me 45 minutes to get what they owed me. I wasn’t asking for a new registration key — just the disk.
  • I know Netflix is taking a pounding right now but every time they have a network problem, I get an email offering me a pro-rated portion of my monthly bill back, if I want it.
  • Last year I got involved in a Kickstarter project for a book. I didn’t hear anything for a long time and then received an early release version of the book some time this summer. That was a nice touch. I even sent back some feedback but never heard anything. When the book was actually released — for twice what I put in on the project — I heard nothing. I reached out to the person who wrote the book and he kicked it over to an assistant who ordered one for me on Amazon.com. What a missed opportunity. A little note from the author thanking me for having faith in him, a signed edition, something special that would make me want to brag about this book to everyone I know and make me feel better about the fact I could have bought it for half as much if I wouldn’t have helped out. Instead… I’m telling you this story.
  • I ordered a couple of books from Amazon recently and after it shipped but before I received them, the price dropped. I emailed Amazon to tell them this and they issued me a $12 refund without any fuss. For the record, Amazon will automatically charge you less if the price drops before it ships but they generally don’t once it ships.

Each company has two choices: we can either treat our customers as enemies or we can treat them as friends. Go the extra mile for them and I believe it will come back ten fold.