Last Updated Apr 13, 2010 5:39 AM EDT
Trust and loyalty are often lumped together, but they aren't the same thing, according to PhotoBox boss and Consumer Forum member Mark Chapman.
"I'm sure a lot of our longevity is a result of building trust. We handle people's precious memories here -- it's a service that's big on trust."
As he celebrates the business's 10th anniversary, he uses his experience of starting up to explain how to win customer trust:
1. "Win market share from more established players: In 1999, the film market was dominated by brands like Boots, Kodak, Jessops and mail order giants Bonusprint and Truprint. Relative market shares were remarkably stable, reflecting a legendary 'stickiness' -- 30 or 40-year relationships with a customer were common. Then digital came along -- now only eight percent of paid-for photo prints will come from roll film.
In such a loyal market, how could a new start-up win market share? In short, we asked our customers to trust us.
We designed the customer to be the centre of our entire proposition, allowing us to persuade many 'loyal' customers away from established brands and into our arms.We just asked people to give us a try, and made it risk-free to do so.
2. Offer more -- and ask more: We set up simple services early and gave customers free orders to try us, free storage of digital photos online, and crucially, same-day turnaround service -- because that's what customers told us they wanted most.
We tried very hard to make sure every customer interaction reflected the values that we (and our customers) thought most important in a photo service.
We also asked something of our customers -- if they liked us, we wanted them to come back and to tell their friends.
3. Keep earning it: Trust is earned by listening hard to your customer's needs, and trying just as hard to serve them as you yourself would like to be served.
The really successful brands of the next few years are going to be the ones that understand that we're beyond the CRM metric known as 'loyalty'.
Instead, we're going to have to find ways of encouraging our customers to trust us. Then it's about trying to find a way to measure that trust."
What do you think -- share your insights on customer loyalty below.