Sometimes you are involved with a product so engaging to so many people that customers find you and become dedicated to you on their own. From my experience, this requires a magic mixture of product design brand identity that satisfies all aspects of the customers’ pleasure centers (solves a problem well, I identify with the product/company, this is part of who I am, etc).
For the rest of the time, it is important to develop and maintain some discipline around customer retention. Even if you deliver for a customer, you may never see them again unless you find a way to connect with their heart or wallet.
Colloquy is a media outlet devoted to the practices and services that help maintain customer loyalty. The business model behind such a publication is all about serving the top end of the market, but many of the ideas presented here can be applied on a smaller scale and with low cost.
For most products, from toothpaste to luxury hotels, need some help in differentiating or at making sure they are present in the customers’ minds when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
Disclosure: BizDevGuy, Jim Haviland has been a speaker at a number of Colloquy sponored events.
You can access great data and profiles on the Colloquy site, but, of couse, you need a free log-in to get to any of it. They are very good at the customer retention disciplines.