How to increase customer loyalty? First, Stop annoying them !

Everyone in sales knows the importance of customer loyalty and the importance of repeat business. Still, we go out and make it difficult for the customer to do business with us. Worse still, we downright annoy the customers.

I had one such experience with a start-up: myPNRstatus.com. They had a novel idea which they are trying out. You can enter the PNR number of the railway ticket and they claim to send you SMS’s on the status of the PNR (if wait-listed, they claim to send you an update everytime there is a change in the status) and also keep you posted on the status of the journey.

I was travelling by rail and had a wait-listed ticket. I decided to try out their service and so registered by PNR with them. I got a couple of SMS as claimed when the status of my wait-list changed from 24 to 22. Then I did not get any further SMS. I did not bother to check the status online myself as I was under the impression that with every change i will get notified. However, just 2 days before my travel date, I decided to check the status myself and was surprised to find that I now had a confirmed ticket. This change in the PNR status was completely missed by the service. I never got the status update on this. I did not think much of it and boarded my train.

While the train had about 12 hours to reach the destination, I started getting status messages about the current status of the train and its expected time of arrival at my destination. In the beginning i was getting about a message every hour or so. But as i was nearing my destination, I started getting an SMS every 10 minutes. This got really annoying and i felt that my inbox was being spammed. The worst part was the fact that I got a status message about the time of arrival at the destination 30 minutes past my arrival. This was downright annoying.

I would have been happy if I continued to get a status update once a couple of hours or even once an hour at the max. Nothing more than that. And never 30 minutes after my arrival.

I am not sure if they are even aware of this issue. My assumption is that as with any other business, they are definitely not aware of this situation and hence will not be working on it either, which is rather un-fortunate for the start-up. Hope they are listening and sort this out.

One of the most important thing that a business can do to increase customer loyalty is to do the following:
  1. Keep using the product or service to experience it as a customer.
  2. Ensure that you do not annoy your customers.  
  3. Ensure that you do not put in road-blocks for repeat purchase.
Hope the folks at myPNRstatus.com are listening. 

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