Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Customer Loyalty

Imagine my surprise when my daughter brought home a pack of 2009 Element from school last week. I had forgotten that I gave her teacher a bunch of old trading card packs to use in the class “treasure box” – a special box from which the kids get to select a prize when they behave all week. She was very excited when she opened the pack and found a Missing Element card. We decided that we would get on the computer after dinner and enter the card.

Except…the Missing Element redemption page isn’t up any more. The product is two years old and we’ve taken it down. So, now imagine the Press Pass Director of Customer Relations trying to console her 7-year-old who can’t redeem her card. Quite the lesson, huh? Some of you would say it serves me right.

Regardless, it was a good reminder that decisions must be made with the end-user in mind. At Press Pass, we know we’re one of the smaller trading card companies. We produce trading cards for niche products and entertainment properties and while we’re pretty successful doing it, we always remember that we have to do it better than the big guys.

Most of our customers see that in our customer relations policies. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times someone in our department has been told how refreshing it is to find out that yes, we will still honor your redemption card past the expiration date or yes, we will work with you to figure out what happened to your card. As much as possible, we want to fix what is wrong and turn a bad experience into a good one. We even try to fix it when it’s not our fault. (Chances are if you leave your just-opened trading cards next to your three-year-old who is coloring with markers, you will find interesting new art on your cards.)

As a retailer, I believe it is important to have the same strategy. The reason collectors like to visit hobby stores is to experience the fun of opening packs with a group of people who are as enthusiastic about the hobby as they are. They are also there because it is familiar – usually, they know you, they know your store and they know your events and promotions. Anything you can do to enhance their experience will only increase their loyalty.

Terri Rehkop

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