In complex sales, retaining existing customers may be TOO hard
Better ways of monitoring customer "satisfaction" lead to loyalty

Making loyalty a sustainable advantage

Loyalty is a trick word, especially in the business world. The airlines proved that you can turn it into a ruthless game. Wireless companies specialize in 'locking up' their customers. Many companies destroy it by misunderstanding why their customers chose them in the first place.  IStock_000023004662XSmall

True loyalty is based on two ends of the transaction understanding and committing to serving the needs of the other. It's not indestructible because our needs can change. But it does provide the only sustainable advantage in growing and preserving an enterprise. What most people fail to grasp is that being loyal isn't easy. It's hard. 

NY Times: SoulCycle: You Say 'Cult.' I Say 'Loyal Customer Base' 2015-Aug-7 by Josh Barro

...[A] potential source of sustainable advantage is a complex business model that must be replicated in full. Mr.[Jan] Rivkin [strategy professor at Harvard Business School] cited Southwest Airlines as an example. Imitators have failed to turn Southwest’s no-frills airline model into similarly consistent, high profits. It turns out that convincing people it’s fun not to have a seat assignment is harder than it looks....

SoulCycle does seem to offer something unique: a sense that what it sells is more than a workout. Devotees of the chain cite benefits from their engagement with SoulCycle that go well beyond the physical.

“It’s sold convincingly and addictively as personal growth and therapeutic progress through fitness,” said Ben Dreyfuss, the engagement editor at Mother Jones magazine, who lives in Manhattan and estimates he has taken an average of one SoulCycle class a day for the last 45 days. “It’s got the calming bits of yoga mixed with the group pack mentality of team sports and the weird psychological whatever you want to call it of following a squad leader into battle.”...

The brand is closely associated with a transcendent experience other gyms don’t offer. Replicating that experience is not simple for would-be imitators, because convincing people their workout is a path to personal growth involves more than setting a few candles onstage in front of an indoor cycling instructor.

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