I’m OK – You’re OK was the title of a popular self-help book in the late 60’s, I remember it as a kid, but have no idea of what it was about. I just remember the title.

The title came to me today when I went for a haircut.  OK might be fine for somethings, but it doesn’t cut it when talking about Customer Success.  First, a little back story.

Growing up I went to the same barber (as much as I can remember) for my first 17 years of life.  His name was Frank and he had a hole in the wall shop on the main street.  It was a place where old guys hung out (they seemed old at the time), always smelled like a mix of cigars and whatever the blue chemical was that they stuck the combs in, and there was a forbidden stack of Playboy magazines high up on a shelf.  Being a kid you were mostly ignored.  I suppose the haircuts were fine and cheap, I went there because that’s where my father went.  I probably would still be going there if I didn’t move away, assuming Frank is still alive and cutting hair.  Fast forward to today.

I have been going to my current barber (actually not an official barber, a national chain of “stylists” dressed in referee uniforms) for the last number of years.  They are OK, but just OK.  Regardless, I am a loyal customer and keep going back to the same place.  But in Customer Success terms, I am Behaviorally Loyal and not Attitudinally Loyal.

According to Customer Success guru Lincoln Murphy

  • Attitudinally Loyal Customers
    • Won’t leave for any reason – lower cost, pretty face, skin your knee, or better potential outcome
  • Behaviorally Loyal Customers
    • Stay for convenience, no better option or compelling event

That takes me to this morning.  I needed a haircut before an upcoming trip.  I had a very short window to squeeze this in.  I stopped by my place and I could see the manager inside, but the door was locked.  It was 20 minutes to 10:00am and I knocked on the door.  She looked at me and mouthed 10 o’clock.  Drats.  I didn’t really have the 20 minutes to spare, but I was looking pretty shaggy.  There was a barber shop way down the street that my son’s friend goes to and he likes.  I figured, maybe I will give them a try.  I drove down the street, there was a big bright OPEN sign, and big letters saying “Walk-ins and first timers WELCOME”.  I went in and there was a very nice kid sweeping the floor, I was the only other one there.  His age gave me a little pause, but I was there and on a short timeframe.  I gave it a go, gave him my preferences and he went to work.  It looked good, if I do say so myself, and was $3 cheaper.  Oh, and I was out the door by 10:00am.  I will probably go back.

So, where is the lesson here?  Every business has the opportunity to create attitudinally loyal clients.  It is different for every industry and can be unique for every business.  It is always grounded in giving the customer two things.  The required outcome and appropriate experience.  Figure that out, execute it consistently and you have customers for life.

I switched barbers because I was behaviorally loyal, maybe I will switch back, maybe I won’t.  My loyalty now is up for grabs and it is in the new guys hands.  As for my childhood barber Frank.  I was behaviorally loyal too, but my father was attitudinally loyal and he controlled the purse strings.  Triple prizes – Frank cut my brother’s hair too.

More about the required outcome and appropriate experience…