Happy customers want to be loyal
I’ll just begin with a cliché: It is hard to gain customer’s loyalty, but it is easy to lose it.
One of my favorite eateries in Saigon is Tango Juice. In my opinion, they serve honest food. The restaurant has a wide portfolio of choices for you to choose from: ranging from simple sandwiches, delicious multi-grain breads, pastas, salads, to specialities of different cuisines (Thai, Mexican, Vietnamese etc). Their juice bar has various healthy options and they all taste yummy.
Since we’ve discovered Tango Juice they have been serving us delicious, healthy, honest food. I hate pretentious food where they try to trick you into thinking their presentation is better, while in fact I tend to look into the core of things. Tango Juice’s customer service is also very good, to the point that they remember my voice and my name and deliver to our door quickly.
Once in a while, I have a less-than-happy experience. It’s because of their record of consistent quality and their ability to satisfy a demanding client like me that sometimes, when things drop from the usual standard a little bit, I feel startled.
Note that I feel startled, not disappointed, not angry, not dissatisfied, not to the point that I switch.
One of the key things in the business of service, especially the food industry, is that you have to make it your first priority to gain customer loyalty. Food is a fickle matter. People eat based on their cravings and their moods and their needs. To gain customer loyalty in food, in my opinion, is harder than the status-seeking industry like watches, fashion, perfumes.
What Tango Juice did right was that they gained my loyalty to the point that I’m willing to expand my boundaries for them. Once in a while I’ve experienced something not so good, but I’m willing to give them second chances. Why? A few points:
– Consistently good food (They have proved their ability to provide quality, therefore I have developed trust in them)
– Prompt and honest service (They answer my questions and respond to my complaints instead of denying them; They deliver food to the door as soon as possible)
– They have shown their core of the business to me (Healthy & Honest) and that core speaks to me personally.
All these make me think about the advertising industry. Too often we complain that clients have no sense of loyalty and just like to complain, while in fact, perhaps we haven’t shown them reasons why they should not do that. Why they should not switch, why they should discuss instead of walking away, why they should listen instead of ignoring us. The beauty of good service is not that the client will be happy all the time, but that in those rare times when he’s not happy because of something we do, he can let it pass, and still remain loyal to us.