Times are tough enough in retail land without disappointing loyal customers
Last weekend my wife went shopping for some new bedding. As has become habit she headed straight to our local Adairs, a chain of homewares and manchester retail stores in Australia. We’ve been members of the Adairs loyalty program called Linen Lovers for years, joining back when our kids were little and we bought them their first beds with matching bedding. Upon presenting her Loyalty Card at the register my wife was advised that our membership had expired… that day. She was invited to join again for the $19.95 fee, but unless she rejoined she wouldn’t be able to receive the discount. My lovely wife considered the offer for all of a second, before leaving her purchases with the hamstrung shop assistant to walk across the street a purchase her manchester from the competition.
At a time when building customer loyalty is both tougher and more important than it ever has been, every business needs to understand which are their key moments of customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction and train their front line staff accordingly. Had the shop assistant been given the mandate to be flexible by a day-or-two on loyalty program expiry dates, and more importantly, been trained to understand why this was important and how much difference it could make to a customer’s perception of the brand, the experience my wife had could have been a hugely positive one. Instead, the brand relationship has been ruined, brand loyalty has evaporated, and Adairs will now need to fight to win over a new customer in order to find a replacement brand fan.