Where is the Loyalty?

What happened to old fashioned loyalty? Are we really living in a world where it no longer matters?

We’ve heard about customer loyalty for decades.  But in the original context, the topic is about how to get customers to be loyal, returning, consistent, and committed supporters.

In the context of this writing, I am talking about the direct opposite.  What happened to the loyalty FOR the customer?  Let me share an example…..

I became an Apple product fanatic in 2007. I’ll save you the time of hearing about all the nights I spent sleeping outside the cell phone store’s from 2007 onward – just to get the iPhone early. I’ll save you having to hear that in my house there are four people and each of them have their own Apple watch, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, and that every room in the house has an Apple TV.

The problem is that Apple has lost their loyalty to the customer.  Why should they care? If I leave them today, there are millions of other customers out there, that are as fanatical as me, who will keep them in business.

Frankly I’m disappointed.  I have four recent stories (a broken MacBook screen, an iPad that would not charge, an Apple Watch that was blamed on my child for the detached face, and an iPhone trade in that I was told would not power up – yet my son used it up until the day we mailed it in).

In each and every one of these situations – Apple assumes no ownership, no blame, no responsibility. If you have “Apple Care” then they will give you a DISCOUNT on the fixes for their malfunctioning and defective products.  If you do not, then you better be ready to pay near full price for the fixes or replacements.

What led me to write this today was the lack of compassion, the cold insensitive and uncaring attitude that Apple customer care, stores, and support has for their customers. In the early years, they NEEDED us.  The more happy customers they have, the better.  They built a dynasty. They entranced all of their customers to follow them on the technical evolution that would be what Apple is today.

I remember back in 2010 when I accidentally dropped my iPhone and, as you would expect, it landed in the perfect way that broke the screen into a million little pieces.  I took it to the Apple store, my face showing the signs of sadness as i walked up.  They looked at it, and my account, and realized how MANY products I had in my possession – and the support person said “This one is on the house” and gave me a new phone.

Those days are long gone folks.  Even with Apple Care, you have to pay a hefty price to get their broken or malfunctioning product fixed.  But most of all, there is no appreciation and response to loyalty.  As I stated earlier, I am sitting here with 25+ Apple products in my home, an Apple Credit card on my phone that I use heavily, and a reputation of being an “Apple Guy”.

But the recent in compassionate responses from Apple, and the coldness in their support has led me to believe that APPLE NO LONGER CARES IF I STICK WITH THEM OR NOT. If I stay…good.  If I go….we will find a replacement for you.

I’m saddened by this. I’m saddened that Apple has a lineup of products that fit my every need – and they all communicate together and work so elegantly for me. They are all connected, and it makes life so simple.  But God forbid that any of them have an issue – or else I will be left to pay for the fixes and the repairs.

Loyalty is ABOUT the customer, not FROM the customer.  Companies that realize that giving a few moments of attention, love, and support to your customers will pay dividends in the end.  Good companies never forget where they came from and who was there to support them when they were ‘growing up’.

I don’t feel the love Apple….  I’ve tried talking for literally hours with your support team.  I’ve tweeted to Tim Cook and your support twitter account – no one cares, no one responds.  In all four of the recent situations I have encounter, I never once asked for “full refund” or “full support”.  I only asked for SOMETHING.  Something to show you care for me as a customer.

It will never be the same – especially as long as you don’t see the value of keeping one customer happy.  I’ve been true to you Apple.  Since 2007, you’ve been the only one.

But that Samsung S20 is winking at me. Android may be in my future.  I wonder how Samsung would treat me as a customer? I wonder if they would hate to lose me if I began using their phone?  We may have to see…….

Loyalty – it’s about the customer, not the client.  Apple has forgotten the thing that got them where they are.  I’m just a number to them. Sad… I thought we had something….

Author: Mike Lyles

I am an International Speaker, writer, author, blogger, and Director of QA & Project Management with over 25 years of experience. I have always had an intense passion to mentor, coach, and guide others to grow professionally. It is fulfilling to witness the look on people’s faces when you are able to share with them something that is enlightening. I want to be remembered for the way I made others feel when they were around me! I can be followed at the following additional social networks – Please feel free to add me! Connections are our best way to help others! Twitter: @mikelyles ……. follow me and I’ll follow you! Facebook: www.facebook.com/mikelyles ……. send a friend request! LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mikewlyles ……. send a connection request! Learn more about me at: http://about.me/mikelyles

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