2016 February News

Boxer Property gets multi-dimensional loyalty


Photo by Ted Drake on Flickr

 One of Houston's most innovative companies is Boxer Property in the commercial property market. We asked President Justin Segal how they experience loyalty in the business-to-business arena, both as a supplier and a customer. In his own words… 

We have a customer named Dino Marcaccio who runs Texas Tax Group. He was a Texas State Tax Auditor, spent many years working for the comptroller’s office, then started his own consulting firm. I met Dino when he posted an video on YouTube about how much he loved his office. I went to meet him and was blown away by his enthusiasm and creativity. He shot a new video on the spot, taking me around to meet the other tenants on his floor. On my way out he gave me a stack of his CDs. It turns out he is an amazing and extremely versatile singer – standards to country – and has opened for Willie Nelson! Dino appreciated our approach to our customers so much that he told the whole internet, and we appreciate him for that. 

Another standout is Kimberly McCright. My brother Andrew, our CEO, met Kimberly when she was touring space at our first major Workstyle project in Clearlake. 1322 Space Park is a property with lots of collaborative space, a dog park, a food truck ramp, and other cool elements. Andrew told me that I had to meet Kimberly and that she was exactly the kind of customer we wanted. I met her a few weeks later and he was right. She really “got” what we were doing, and she became our property’s biggest supporter. In parallel to her primary business (Verbatim Court Reporting & Transcription), Kimberly set up an incubator and began recruiting other tenants to fill up the space around her business. She built a community around her, and has been very patient and understanding when construction and other issues arise. 

One of our favorite partners is a company called M-Files. At the time we signed up with them, M-Files was a somewhat unknown provider of document management solutions. We took a risk on a lesser-known vendor because we liked their technology. They appreciated our faith in them and dramatically overcame any concerns we had by providing over-the-top customer service. They were flexible and helpful with training and implementation, and have been very quick to help with any issues that arise. In return, we have provided many testimonials for them, discussed our experience with industry analysts and journalists, and even shot a promotional video for them in our office. Since we selected M-Files, they have made huge gains in the market and are becoming a major player in the content management space.Even though they have customers that are much bigger than us, they have continued to give us the same excellent service as when we started with them years ago. That’s how to get and keep our loyalty!

Loyalty built with friendliness at Gold's Gym

Garden Photo
Photo by Brant_Kelly on Flickr

After recently lamenting the lack of steady CRM from gyms, I found a this story about Gold's Gym. They approach the problem scientifically, but end up with a very friendly solution. 

Loyalty360: Gold's Gym Embodies the Definition of Customer Experience, 2015-Dec-1 by James Loy

"We are trying to change hearts and minds, and we need to do a tremendous amount of effort and work on our human capital side,” [Senior Director of Member Experience Brad] Bean said. "So we try to find team members that see value in what they do. And we have found that friendliness, by far, is the most impactful score that we can measure."

Working with InMoment and through a comprehensive analysis of data, Gold’s Gym found this to be true almost independent from any other factor. This one metric held true, regardless of many other factors including facility cleanliness or even the condition of the equipment. Friendliness consistently increased and enhanced the brand’s customer experience across all levels, and at every turn.

The Loyal Bank of Favors

Photo by Smabs Sputzer on Flickr

Loyalty gets tangled up with reciprocity. Loyalty is about making a long-term commitment, a commitment to weathering the storms in a relationship. In contrast, reciprocity is "tit-for-tat," and it's much more fragile. Rory Sutherland recently did a good job of teasing apart the difference. The more mileage in your relationship, the more slack… giving both sides permission to make mistakes and to get favors as well as forgiveness. 

Wired UK: Relational capital will drive business in 2016, 2016-Jan-16 by Rory Sutherland

Any non-anonymous transaction involves more than the exchange of money; it also entails the exchange of an invisible and unquantified mental "trust currency." If I keep an Uber driver waiting on my first ever journey, the likelihood that I am a bad customer is quite high; on the other hand, if I force a 20-minute wait after a long, unblemished record of punctuality -- well, he should probably forgive me that one.

You could call this currency "the benefit of the doubt." Over time, we expect businesses to which we have been repeatedly decent to reflect that in their treatment of us. Loyal repeat customers believe that, with each transaction, the seller should add a mental credit to the favour-bank. If this tacit rule is broken, and the favour-bank proves to be empty, moral outrage may cause the scandalised customer to defect -- even at some cost to himself.