BUSINESS MARKETING: Customer loyalty is earned

2013-10-05T13:20:00Z BUSINESS MARKETING: Customer loyalty is earnedLarry Galler Times Business Columnist
October 05, 2013 1:20 pm  • 

Last week I traveled cross-country to a seminar and am happy to report I had a great experience throughout my trip in an age when we hear so many complaints based on stupid systems or uncaring attitudes.

The airport was crowded, but because I had gotten my boarding pass online and wasn’t checking luggage, I was able to avoid the serpentine line and go directly to security check-in. OK, that was a little of a mess, but probably better than it could have been.

The plane left the gate and arrived on time. The flight was as expected and the attendants were both efficient and pleasant.

When I arrived at the hotel the doorman gave those of us getting off the shuttle bus a big welcoming smile and directed us to the front desk. There, a smiling counterperson welcomed me again, went through a quick check-in procedure of assigning me a room, gave me the key, and told me about the amenities available.

As I walked to the elevator I passed a few other hotel employees and every one of them looked at me, smiled, and said, “hello.”

Every morning, instead of getting a large breakfast I went to the small coffee shop for an awakening cup of coffee and a pastry. Every day there was a line of other coffee seekers doing the same thing. The three women behind the counter were working hard to get us through the line as quickly as possible but instead of growling and scowling, they greeted every one with a smile, took orders, fulfilled them efficiently and ended each transaction with another seemingly genuine smile and a “have a good day.”

In an age where it seems the buying public is often given mediocre service at best it is good to feel that, at least a percentage of businesses, are aware of the loyalty advantages of overwhelming their customers with smiles, respect, quality products and services. I go out of my way to use Southwest Airlines, Marriott Hotels, and Starbucks because they have earned it.

Are you earning your loyalty?

Opinions are solely the writer's. Larry Galler, of Larry Galler & Associates, is a marketing and management consultant for small and mid-size companies. Get Larry’s Free Self Assessment: “A Quick Check Vision Tool for Business Owners.” Send an email to and put “Vision Assessment” in the subject line.

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