JetBlue--The Problem With Customer Loyalty.

I’m getting slammed here for my post complaining about JetBlue service by a lot of very loyal customers. JetBlue has worked very hard to cultivate this kind of loyalty and very few companies, with the exception of Apple and Starbucks, can match it.

But the comments by JetBluers blasting me raise an interesting question—can a company be blinded by its own loyal consumers? Reading through the comments, it’s clear that most of the people reacting to my post didn’t get the point. They framed me as complaining about price—paying $20 more for legroom in Exit Row seats when I actually complained about trust—JetBlue taking my assigned seats away and splitting them up across rows. And then charging $20 extra per seat on the return for seats I had already paid for. Again, breaking trust, not changing the business model, is

the issue.

So what gives? Are pople reading blog items very quickly and missing the point? Is it blind loyalty? I like the blind loyalty argument because it gets at something important. If a company succeeds in building a very loyal customer base, will it fail to receive feedback on problems (or changing trends or competitors)as a result? Is loyalty good but blind loyalty bad in the long run?

For companies that build a very loyal base of consumers, it may be important for them to monitor the edges, where a few people are saying things that contradicts the majority.

Thought for the day.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.