I’ve yet to hear a customer blurt out anything that sounds like this: “I just love that gorgeous silver Bank of America ATM at Main and 8th. I’d follow it anywhere–if that machine ever pulls up roots and moves across town, I’m going with it.”
Of course not. Loyalty to an ATM, no matter how efficient the machine may be, is a ludicrous concept.
I’d be the first to agree that customers do want efficient, ATM-like advances in the businesses they frequent. (It’s what's call “offloading the transactional,” and it’s central to building customer experiences that won’t drive away Millennials and other digitally-informed customers.)
The problem is when you end up with your priorities screwed on backwards and try to get the efficiency tail to wag the loyalty dog.
Customer loyalty can almost never be based solely on efficiency and convenience, rather than on extraordinary customer service. (It doesn’t work to say “We won’t bother creating a remarkable customer experience. We’ll just make sure they can have it fast and error-free.”)
Convenience may make a customer settle for you, but it won’t make a customer love you. They may see you as Mr. Right-Now, but they're not going to take you home to meet the parents.
Build customer loyalty like you build a great movie.
More likely, you’re going to build customer loyalty the way a great movie does. By being great. (Not by making your tickets easier to buy than the tickets for other movies.)
Being able to purchase tickets on online with your smartphone, print them out at home, find all nearby movies and showtimes and where films are showing in 3-D vs 2-D is all great. Movie theaters, like other businesses, need to be offering their customers these conveniences, and they’re putting themselves at a ridiculous disadvantage if they don’t. (There’s probably no more reliable way, in fact, to kill your business than by burdening your customers with inefficient processes and outdated procedures.)
Yes, people appreciated being able to research and buy the tickets online, but it’s not what they’re going to talk about. Or what brings them back to see it again, this time with their friends.
Building customer loyalty is about moving customers. Making them enjoy the experience. Spinning a mighty good tale.
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