Vail Daily column: A loyal customer
February 22, 2016
Are you a loyal customer? Businesses spend millions each year trying to increase customer loyalty. The textbook answer to building customer loyalty goes something like this. A vendor needs to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering a product or service that's of superior quality or at a better price, thereby demonstrating superior value.
That said, it's a fallacy to assume that just because a customer continues to buy from a particular vendor that he or she is loyal. There are numerous reasons why a customer continues to do business which have little to do with loyalty. E.g., it may take too much time, money or effort to change vendors; or there could be a contractual arrangement between buyer and seller or perhaps a particular supplier simply offers the lowest price even though the buyer doesn't really like dealing with them.
Regardless of the situation, when it comes to making buying decisions, most of us prefer doing business with people who make us feel good both during and after the purchase. As the saying goes, people will not remember what you say, but they'll always remember how you made them feel.
There are a number of businesses, individuals and organizations in the Vail Valley that fit the description of making their customers "feel good," and I thought it might be a nice idea to fete a few that I'm personally familiar with here. Yes, these are personal opinions, but they are opinions arrived at with the benefit of being the chief executive officer of a service company for 25 years prior to moving to the valley.
The other day a circuit breaker in our home failed causing the heat tape on our roof to stop functioning. With temperatures below zero and 3 feet of snow on a flat roof it didn't take long before we had water leaking into my wife's office. I made a quick phone call to Michael Boyd of Master Sealers and like magic, soon he and his crew were at our home clearing the snow off our roof.
When Michael told me he needed an electrician to check out the circuit before he could proceed, I called local electrician Mike Mansfield. Mike was at our home within 20 minutes and within the hour the circuit breaker was replaced. I mean, c'mon — the dead of winter, freezing temperatures, 3 feet of snow on a flat roof and between Michael and Mike they had the problem solved within a few hours — I like doing business with these people.
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In another minor emergency a while back our home heating system stopped suddenly. Of course, as Murphy's Law would have it, the furnace chose 11 p.m. on a Saturday night with freezing temperatures to conk out. I called five different plumbers — only one even bothered to return my call — but within the hour Jim Harper the owner of Plumbing Systems Inc. in Edwards, had one of his techs at our home and the matter was handled professionally, expeditiously and courteously.
But good service isn't necessarily limited to the trades. We find it when purchasing professional services too, to wit: Recently I purchased a second pair of glasses and in my infinite wisdom I bought my new glasses prior to having an updated eye exam. So when the optometrist told me my prescription had changed my first reaction was to kick myself for buying first and having the examination afterward.
But the wonderful folks at Vail Vision in Edwards said "no problem," we'll replace your recently purchased second pair of glasses free of charge — professional and friendly. Guess who is a loyal customer of Vail Vision?
Next door to Vail Vision is Joint Works Physical Therapy owned by Sara Manwiller and her husband, Mike. I cannot render judgments about the quality of a professional medical service — I'm not qualified. However, I do recognize positive and caring attitudes and will state unequivocally that Sara and Mike are two of the most caring medical professionals I've ever met and as one might expect this attitude has imbued to the entire staff, and that's what keeps me coming back.
Located in same building is Vail Summit Orthopedics. Again, not being qualified to make judgments about the quality of medical services (although I feel the treatments my wife and I have received throughout time has been absolutely outstanding), it's the culture that continues to impress. Whether it's a matter of scheduling or needing specific assistance with insurance or medical forms, everyone I've ever come in contact with (front desk staff, physician's assistants and physicians) has walked the extra mile for both my wife and myself — so thank you, Vail Summit Orthopedics.
We all have our reasons for doing business where we do and it's not my intent to convert anyone. Nonetheless, word-of-mouth referrals are extremely powerful, and I wanted share my experiences in the event any of our readers may be in need of the aforementioned services someday.
Quote of the day: "Your customer doesn't care how much you know until they know how much you care." — Damon Richard
Butch Mazzuca, of Edwards, writes regularly for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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