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March 19, 2013

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luxury brands infuriate consumers, yet remain attractive

by kikiii89

Last week, I interviewed senior marketing and brand strategy manager at Porsche (China) Motors Ltd , and we had a very interesting conversation about the overall low customer satisfaction rate in luxury products market. I asked why the customer service are always less than satisfactory while they have time and resources to train employees better. Isn’t customer service important in luxury goods industry?” Ms.Yang said that the “less-than-satisfactory” customer service is exactly part of the marketing strategy of many luxury brands. In the psychology perspective, just the right amount of unsatisfactory in the purchasing process will maximize customers’ happiness after they get the products. In their employee training program, the employees are always told not to talk too much to their customers, not to get too close to their customers, even not to smile too much. Also, their are many companies intentionally prolong their delivery time, emphasizing their superior quality and complicated manufacture process: It used to take up to 36 years to get a Hermes Birkin bag; it takes several years to get a designed sports car; it takes 1-2 years to get a “Vertu” cellphone, etc. If we compare the customer satisfaction rate across all the industry, luxury goods industry is probably the one that care about their customers the least.

However, It is always brand/marketing managers’ job to find out customers’ “limit”: they have to make sure that their “poor” customer service won’t make their customers leave their business. That explains why luxury stores always have fancy decorations but only have one or two salespersons,  in which way they keep their customers waiting but at the same time make sure they enjoy the waiting time. Luxury goods, as a unique segment of markets, are always running their business in their own ways.

That’s wh although luxury brands often infuriate customers, they are still able to maintain customer loyalty and profit enormously from these consumers

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