December 18th, 2008
If we want to see how brand engagement works, we don’t have to look any further than the Cuisinart Popcorn Maker.
Williams-Sonoma is featuring this intriguingly designed popper on their site. It’s received 3.6 stars from the 25 reviewers. Only 9 (36%) of those reviewers gave it one, two, or three stars.
Amazon is selling the exact same popper. Yet their reviewers have a very different take:
In the case of Amazon’s site, 18 out of 27 (67%) reviewers rated the device with one or two stars.
Why did twice as many people rate the product positively on Williams-Sonoma’s site than on Amazon’s? The answer is clear from these two reviews:
On the Williams-Sonoma site, this reviewer had a bad experience, yet gave it three stars:
makes great popcorn when it works
I got this as a Christmas gift and my whole family all fell in love with it. We used it several times a week. After a few months the hot plate stopped heating. So back to the store it went with no questions asked and I brought another one home and it too broke after the 3rd use. Back to the store I went for an exchange. This popcorn popper is so good I don’t mind exchanging it for a new one. The customer service is so awesome at Williams-Sonoma!
On the Amazon site, this customer gave the device only one star, having had essentially the same experience:
Makes good (not great) popcorn – but I’ve been through 2 now and Customer Support STINKS
I gave this unit 1 star because in the course of a few of months I’ve had two now that have broken. Here’s how it works when it breaks: you call customer support, they give you attitude, grill you as if you’ve done something wrong, they charge you $10 to ship the replacement unit and then you have to ship the broken unit back – so ~$20 to get a replacement for something under warranty. What breaks? There are 3 main pieces to the unit: the plug-in base, the heating element, and the bowl. The heating element detaches from the base, a very nice feature, but after about a month on the first unit the handles and clip that attach to the base broke. After another couple of months on the replacement the heating element stopped heating.
That’s two people reporting essentially the same experience. Yet one felt is was substantially better than the other, because of the customer support of Williams-Sonoma.
From the folks at Gallup, we learn that one of the key components of brand engagement is integrity. Does the brand always treat me fairly? If a problem arises, can I count on the brand to reach a fair and satisfactory resolution?
In this case, the first customer felt that Williams-Sonoma took care of them and the Amazon customer felt that Cuisinart was doing a crappy job by charging $20 to get a replacement and having a poorly constructed unit.
When there’s high brand engagement, customers are willing to overlook problems and still feel good about the product or service. Williams-Sonoma takes good care of their customers, even the product is defectively designed, leading to higher engagement and the customer’s willingness to overlook problems.Tweet