What happens when you abandon a customer?
As I was copying a Florentine recipe from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook I purchased at the local company store a number of years ago, I mused that the company had "abandoned" me, a great customer, when it closed its store about a year ago. I had been a regular shopper. Now I buy nothing from the company, whose products I still think are great.
(For those that are interested, the cookbook is Florence: Authentic Recipes Celebrating the Foods of the World and the recipe is for Stracatto al Peppoli, which is Florentine braised beef with Peppoli wine. It is how they cook it at the Antinori winemaking family's Cantinetta Antinori on Via de' Tourbuoni in Florence.)
I have received a few Williams-Sonoma catalogues since its store was closed, but, otherwise, it does not seem as though the company has tried to embrace me and keep me shopping for its goods.
I don't remember a personalized "reach out" to hold on to me when the store was closing. I could have been sent a letter or email or even received a call, but I remember none of the above. There is another not-as-close store in the area: I have not been invited to shop there. I have not seen a "we have missed you" or "special offer for a former customer" communication, either.
My object is not to kcock Williams-Sonoma, but to caution that you need to be thoughtful when you change your distribution channels, outlets or other customer facing aspects and disrupt relationships with good customers. You ought to be doing everything possible to hold them in the fold. After all, we know it is much harder to win a new customer than to keep an old one.
Do you have examples of viable companies leaving customers high and dry and not working on maintaining or re-establishing relationships with them? What do you think the company should have done?