According to an article that appeared in Forbes during November 2012, the importance of integrity in business has been eclipsed by a constant pursuit for immediate results. Yet, integrity in business will survive well beyond any current level of success, and it can significantly increase the chance for long-term company stability.
This reason integrity is essential for building customer loyalty is because the majority to customers tend to remember business that “do the right thing” well after their purchases are long forgotten. Essentially, the average consumer equates the highest quality companies with social responsibility and principled policies. This means businesses that routinely demonstrate a sincere commitment to their communities, and offer top notch customer service, will be the first ones to earn customer trust and loyalty.
Whether they realize it or not, every consumer has their favorite brands, and many will stick to those brands regardless of what the competition offers. On the surface it seems like brand loyalty is illogical, and that no single company of brand can always offer the best that is available. But this is where the truth of brand loyalty comes into play.
Let us assume that a young person is shopping for her first living room furniture set. While she has already determined that she will only shop top quality furniture stores, and she is not committed to any single brand. After a couple of hours hitting the stores with the best reputations she is more impressed with the honesty and openness exhibited by Store X, despite the fact that its prices are a little bit higher than Store Y.
Although it is tempting to go for the lower price, she finds herself a bit unsettled with the way Store Y seems to be pushing items on her she does not want. Thus, she chooses to buy from Store X, because she simply liked the way she was treated.
Over the next couple of years, she ends up buying other types of furniture and appliances for her home. Unlike the first time, she does not waste any time shopping around or looking at what other deals are available online. She remembers her positive experience with Store Y the first time around, so giving them repeat business is an easy decision. The bottom line is there might be better deals out there, but the service offered by Store Y was enough to make her a loyal customer.
Do you think that the customer’s loyalty to Store Y was warranted, or would she have been wiser to shop around? While good arguments could be made either way, the fact of the matter is brand loyalty is a very real thing. And throughout the history of the retail industry, customer loyalty has been critically important to the long-term success of retail furniture stores.
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