Sweeping Changes May Be Unfriendly And Will Not Improve Customer Loyalty

One of my favorite airlines committed a customer interface blunder. They changed the automated telephone menu system for reservations, removed the 24-hour fast-access option for frequent flyers, set up the menu so it changes at various times of the day, and put long recorded messages on the system to “educate” passengers while they wait. While these changes were no doubt implemented to improve customer loyalty, they backfired.

I’ve called this airline many times. My fingers know which buttons to push to get what I need without delay. Now my fingers are lost and my ears are listening to long messages. I am still trying to figure out which menu works at which time of day and which buttons I need to push.
A similar experience took place when WordPerfect introduced “WordPerfect for Windows” and all the function keys were changed. Long ago, WordPerfect was the word-processing program of choice.

But overnight my loyalty to WordPerfect evaporated. As long as I had to re-learn a whole new set of keystrokes, I might as well learn Microsoft Word. And what happened to WordPerfect? Massive decline in market share. (We all know what’s happening with Microsoft Word, now dominating the word processing arena.) There is something to be said about applying consistency to improve customer loyalty.

Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Loyalty

Revolutionary transformation can have great power – but evolutionary change may keep your customers happier and profitably on board. Sometimes it is just better to introduce changes gradually to retain and improve customer loyalty.

Action Steps To Improve Customer Loyalty

When you want to make a change or an “upgrade” to your systems, keep your customers’ experience foremost in your mind. Once your customers learn to love you, do all you can to keep them. Don’t throw that love away! Improve customer loyalty by retaining familiarity where you can.

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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “UP! Your Service” books and founder of UP! Your Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpYourService.com.

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