A key and growing trend in consumer loyalty is the ‘get me’ brand – a brand that understands what their customers want and need at every step of their brand journey, even in complaint handling. These ‘get me’ brands make the customer feel valued, feel as if the brand is speaking to them directly and personally and, crucially, understands them.

Some weeks ago, I might have said that about a well-known retailer I have been using for a very long time and that I felt loyal to. This brand is known for great customer service, for being a brand you can trust, for being quick to resolve problems. Until it seems things go awry…

I ordered a new phone from this retailer a few weeks ago. I was excited!

My excitement was short lived, however...arriving at the collection depot, I was handed the package but it was empty. There was no phone. It had gone missing before I had even arrived. My excitement turned to anger. I contacted said retailer who clearly didn’t believe me. But this is genuine I protested, by email, the box was empty when I received it. Their response was perfunctory…and also interesting.

Interesting because at no point did they engage with me personally or try to understand my story. There was no apology, in fact no emotion at all. Each email I received, and there were many, had generic, process-led content demonstrating they had not read or engaged with the details of the incident – my story. Each reply came from someone new – no-one was willing to own the problem. And it became clear that no-one cared about me, one of their loyal customers, who spends a fortune with them each year. I get that things happen. But their lack of empathy, even basic engagement with me as an individual customer actually surprised me…a lot.

The retailer in this experience is not, it turns out, a ‘get me’ brand at all. To them I was an irritant. Their lack of engaging with me personally spoke volumes in terms of their real commitment to loyal customers. It was disappointing for me and, as a consequence, I doubt I’ll be buying anything from them any time soon and neither will I be recommending them. Though it’s their loss financially, it feels like I have lost out too.

Luckily not my phone though, which did eventually arrive, after many days and much effort from me. I did receive vouchers by way of apology – though ironically vouchers to redeem against a new phone! So their lack of personalised service throughout and particularly in resolution highlighted that I was just a number to them.

I do love my new phone though!