Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty is a practice that I inherited from my mother and grandmother. When a merchant or business person provides exceptional service or goods, I reward them by purchasing goods or services from them exclusively.

Recently, three merchants went above and beyond to make my experience as a customer excellent and as a result I am compelled to share my experiences with you, my readers.

First up is Black Dagger Games (BDG), a bits company that exists on Ebay. BDG offers bits (and shipping) at very competitive prices, which is great in its own right. I purchased Chimera dozer blade bits from BDG (five to be exact), but I wanted six. Unfortunately, BDG didn't think he had any more in stock. Some time later BDG replenished stock in the item, and since my first order had shipped already, offered me shipping on my subsequent purchase free of charge.

Now, I've dabbled with a little Ebay selling and let me tell you those little fees along with postage add up quick (and eat into any sort of profit one hopes to make). BDG probably lost a little money on my last purchase in order to make me, a customer, happy. Yet, BDG went above and beyond for me, and as a result earned my loyalty as a consumer.

Recently I purchased frag cannons' from Spikey Bits, owned and operated by Rob Baer. The items shipped free, and super fast! I follow Rob's blog, and noticed his advertisement for 20% off and a 5.00 voucher on all 6th Edition book preorders- with very quick turn around shipping!

Curious, I emailed Rob with a couple of questions, and was shocked when Rob replied back within 5 minutes of my initial inquiry. Rob spent most of the morning fielding my subsequent inquiries via email, and that really impressed me. The guy is busy: Running a store, preparing for tournaments' and such, yet, he took the time to provide me with a superior customer service experience. As a result, he earned my loyalty as a return customer. Thanks again, Rob.

Last but not least, is Olympic Cards and Comics owned and operated by Gabi Shephard. This is my FLGS (emphasizing the word "Friendly") where I can go and play whatever game I'm in the mood for free of charge. Not only does Gabi offer gaming space to her customers (and community), she does her utmost to ensure it is safe and child friendly (Cussing is discouraged and can fill up a quarter jar quick!). Gabi makes it her business to know what each of her customers' like and want, and will go to great lengths to get a person a toy, a book, a comic, a game, or game piece. Gabi's prices are competitive as brick and mortar stores go, but I'd rather spend my cash with Gabi and support the gaming scene and community she fosters' and develops then save a few pennies on the dollar (and have to suffer finding games in a Games Workshop store- bolded to emphasize how shitty that experience can be).

Gabi offers a rewards program that earns you a percentage of store credit per store purchase. Likewise, Gabi is offering 10% off 6th Edition preorders and will be distributing them at 00:01 hours on the 30th.

OCC is very important to me, as it is a great place that I can go to find pick-up games as well as modeling and painting advice. The fact that Gabi and staff offer superior customer service and shopping experience EVERY TIME I enter OCC is further testament why I am an unwavering customer.

Customer service is important, and often times it trumps price point. Do you have any retailers or merchants that you would like to brag about? Share them here!


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