Remember Blockbuster? 

That video store that charged you a late fee if you returned the movie after a “magical” timeline? 

What about the customer service at the post office in the 1990s? The term “Customer Service” and "Post Office” never existed in the same sentence unless you included the term “lack of.”

Blockbuster had a monopoly on the video rental game. Their customer service was horrendous. I remember arguing with a Blockbuster employee because he wouldn’t take off a “rewind fee” for a DVD I returned (Yes a DVD. The employee was reciting policy and refused to see the idiocy of his argument).

Then Netflix came along, gained traction, and all of a sudden Blockbuster does away with late fees (And retrained employees on how DVDs work).

Then there is the post office. They couldn't care less how long you waited in line. When you finally got to a human being they made you feel like waiting in line for 40 mins was that just the beginning. Now with the surge of alternative choices like Fed Ex, UPS, DHL, and email, the postal service isn’t only trying to make your experience enjoyable, but they treat you like a human being as well.

Too little, too late.

Blockbuster doesn’t exist. They were reduced to a blue rental box in Save-A-Lot.

The postal service is a dwindling entity. Some areas reduced Saturday deliveries while increasing the price of a stamp. 

These are great examples of organizations that let the lack of competition dictate how they treat customers and mistake their loyalty for a dollar sign. As soon as customers feel abused, they will jump ship to a better relationship. 

The lesson:

When you have a niche in your game, don't take your customer’s loyalty for granted. Always find ways to strengthen that loyalty; even if it is already solid. 

I should know. I’ve been a loyal Netflix customer since 2003.