05-06-2013 12:29 AM
Most of the time when I see a post beginning with I have been a loyal BN customer, I cringe. What usually follows is but no more because, my older model didn't get the latest feature upgrade, or no one told me a new model or a lower price was coming.
When a software update cripples a feature or causes a problem criticism is fare. Other than that most of the time people aren't loyal they are saying they expect bribes or they will look for a better offer.
The truth is I have bought 3 Nook devices, a bunch of of books and apps because I chose the product because it met my criteria. Yes I have issues with some of competitors business practices. That doesn't mean I did BN a favor by choosing them.
Loyalty implies a higher purpose. Buy American, save the environment, no out sourced jobs etc. Being a repeat or regular customer rarely means you are loyal, it means that you haven't found a better fit, based on whatever motivates you to buy.
I will probably get flack for splitting hairs on my definition of loyalty, since many businesses customers are described as loyal. If it was really true all those products made in foreign countries would still be made here in the USA.
05-06-2013 09:00 AM
Loyalty also does not imply blind devotion. It's a two way street. I've purchased 6 NOOK devices, and spend easily several hundreds on eBooks from B&N each year. Am I "loyal enough" is the question B&N needs to ask, regardless of how I label myself. What sorts of incentives (bribes) must they offer to make me want to come back? I buy eBooks from several sources, but mostly B&N. If B&N makes any moves that make me think they don't value my business, I'm happy to change that. The question to me isn't my "loyalty", but rather whether B&N has earned my business today. Have they?
05-06-2013 09:35 AM
I have a NST. Everything from B&N has been good for me.
05-06-2013 09:52 AM - edited 05-06-2013 09:57 AM
Bobstro, isn't the nature of business you are describing boil down to what have you done for me lately? Loyalty includes level of trust. Because customers and sellers both ultimately act out of self interest true loyalty is not possible. Loyalty, not blind devotion, includes a willingness to accept an outcome which is negative in the short term because you trust in long term there will be a shared beneficial outcome. You can be loyal to a coworker covering for them by working late so they can go on a date because you believe they will do the same in the future if you need it. I believe companies today place no value on earning trust and customers have almost no patience for even small failures.
It's kind of a chicken chicken or egg question, did companies forget the long term or did customers change how they make purchase decisions. The number of people sticking with one car brand through multiple purchases is rare now. Perhaps this is a good thing. We now have more information available, and companies must continue to perform or quickly be irrelevant.
05-06-2013 10:16 AM - edited 05-06-2013 10:21 AM
Until last year, B&N was the only place I bought books from since 1990. And I buy 3-5 books a week, on average, up in hardcover whenever available (even before Internet shopping when I had to order them from the store and pick them up a week later). I made a choice to not shop at Amazon for books when they opened and for many years because I preferred B&N. Even with my love of shopping online, I was always happy to do a good deal of my shopping in store. And when the majority if my shopping was done online I still purchased from B&N. I have had the same membership card since B&N launched their membership program. The biggest reason I bought my NOOKs was because I preferred B&N. did I feel like I was serving some higher purpose? Of course not. But I still made a conscious decision to exclusively give B&N my book business for over 20 years. I've bought four NOOKs, all except one in-store.
We obviously have a different definition of loyalty. To me, loyalty is standing with a particular person, cause, or business over others by choice. The reasons may differ. But even loyalty can be eroded over time. Especially customer loyalty.
I don't believe my needs have changed that much. I do buy ebooks, but most of my book money is still spent on paper because I prefer it. Is B&N somehow more virtuous than any other large company? Of course not. Al the business oractices people here complain about Amazon for, B&N did first. However, B&N used to have excellent customer service and I was happy with them for many, many years and was one of the staunchest defenders here. Unfortunately, I have dealt with so much poor customer service over the last three years and they have increasingly ignored the needs of their customers (and I am not talking about outrageous demands; I'm talking about basic functionality that was removed or has been requested since the first NOOK was released). B&N used to at least make me feel like they cared about keeping their customers happy and retaining their business. Yet I have come to feel like they no longer care about their customers at all. I can no longer ignore these things.
It may sound silly, but when I was given a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday in January, I actually felt guilty using it for a good while. It's silly since B&N is a business and not a personal friend, and Amazon has been getting some of my paper book business since last fall, but there it is. Books are very personal to me, and I have more personal attachment to them than any other goods I purchase. So I suppose having such feelings toward the business that has been providing me with them for so long isn't all that odd.
Will I ever leave B&N completely? Probably not, unless they close their stores near me. But they are no longer the first place I choose to look to meet my needs anymore.
05-06-2013 10:33 AM
"Loyalty" is a 2-way street. I've seen way too many feature request posts that are ignored. I've seen too many updates to my NSTG that just describe "bug fixes" to be happy. I would like to know what exactly has been fixed. I've seen over the years that updates seem to cause more issues than they fix for many people. And I see no feedback regarding these issues.
I have purchased 3 Nook e-readers over time. I purchased the original one, a NST, and then the NSTG. Software-wise I am NOT impressed at all with the NST. If I open a second book I can't find what the first book I was reading was. It disappears into the list of books. If I sideload a book I can not sync to other devices. I can only sideload B&N books.
I recently saw the Kindle Paperwhite on sale for $99 and bought it knowing I could return it without question if I didn't like it. Not only can I see multiple books I'm reading but I can actually sync sideloaded books to other devices. Many of my books are sideloaded so that is important to me. Oh yeah, the screen is also much better than the NSTG.
I'm not saying there aren't problems with the PW. For example, battery level is just an icon and I can't see the percentage. That bothers me. Also I can't turn off the light completely. That bothers me as well.
BUT, the features I mentioned above are important to me and they are on the PW and not on the NSTG so it looks like I'm staying with the PW unless something drastic changes.
I do not blindly show "loyalty" to a corporation. They have to earn it from me every single day. If a PW fits my needs more than a NSTG then I will use a PW. Done deal. Loyalty is for friends and family not for corporations.
05-06-2013 11:10 AM - edited 05-06-2013 11:26 AM
A couple of thoughts, Pat:
- B&N shouldn't care "how loyal" customers are, only that they remain repeat customers. The recent decision to support GPS access makes me think B&N management may have finally figured this out. Better to get 25 percent of my business than none.
- In my case at least, "brand loyalty" does carry through thick and thin. I've flown US Air (originally America West) since 1996 almost exclusively, and there have been plenty of bad times. I've also stayed at Marriott hotels and purchased new Nissan vehicles since that same time. Yes, each brand has "bribed", or as I prefer to think of it, shown appreciation over the years. As a result, they get most of my business. The one most likely to lose it is US Air because THEY have started with the "what have you done for me lately" stuff, giving those with their credit cards the same recognition as 15+ year flyers and generally forgetting me at the start of each annual cycle.
I completely get your point that some claims of having been a loyal customer are done for dramatic effect. I'm just saying that B&N would be best served by NOT setting purity tests once they manage to get someone's business. They need to work to get more.
The worst thing B&N has done is to charge for membership instead of granting it based on business. Who's the better customer: someone who paid $25 for a rarely used membership, or someone who makes several hundreds of dollars in purchases regularly?
I agree with you that "modern thinking" seems to be that loyalty (repeat business) doesn't matter, but I can't see how that's smart thinking over the long term. Yes, the Internet and ebooks have disrupted this business. Business needs to be re-thought. However, B&N should not lose sight of the fact that they still need paying customers, and encourage (not expect) those customers to come back, whether our of blind loyalty, habit, or because they feel suitably bribed (appreciated).
05-06-2013 11:54 AM
>>I agree with you that "modern thinking" seems to be that loyalty (repeat business) doesn't matter, but I can't see how that's smart thinking over the long term. <<
LOL, what is this "long term" you speak of? No one seems to care about that anymore, especially in business.
05-06-2013 12:14 PM
Well, I guess we measure product lifecycle in "Internet years" now. Are business schools teaching that a company lifecycle should be similarly measured?