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Samsung doesn’t seem to care about its most loyal customers anymore

Opinion
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Last updated: June 14th, 2022 at 19:53 UTC+02:00

Customer loyalty is very difficult to achieve. A business has to do a lot of things right so that it can keep them coming back over and over again. This is a challenge that unites all businesses, regardless of the industry they’re in.

Samsung has been incredible at igniting loyalty in its customers. It’s a commendable achievement given the incredibly tough nature of the tech business. If your products are unable to spark a sense of loyalty in customers, they won’t think twice before leaving.

Look at what happened to the likes of Nokia, LG, Motorola, and many others. They were among the market leaders merely a decade or so ago. Nobody seems to remember them anymore. Even though they had customers that swore by their mobile phones, they just couldn’t remain competitive.

While powerful, customer loyalty can also be very fickle. There is no shortage of alternatives in this competitive market. If you fail to deliver a product that customers can get behind, it’s very difficult and often impossible to recover. There are plenty of examples of how this plays out over time.

Many Samsung fans are concerned about why the company seems to be taking unpopular steps that make it seem that it doesn’t care about its most loyal customers anymore. Think about it, nobody would have thought that Samsung would kill the Galaxy Note lineup until it did. This series had perhaps the most loyal customer base of any Samsung phone. Year after year, users would wait to purchase the latest iteration of its stylus-boasting device. These were the customers that made Samsung’s vision for the S Pen a success even when everybody in the industry gave up on the stylus.

Their loyalty was duly rewarded every year with a new Galaxy Note flagship that always raised the bar. In recent years, the company started launching two models to lower the barrier of entry. It even launched the Galaxy Note 10 Lite to make the S Pen available to the masses. Samsung spent over a decade building up the goodwill for this series only to disregard it completely.

Samsung has tried to find some middle ground by reincarnating the Galaxy Note series in the “Ultra” variant of the Galaxy S22 but that’s far from an equitable solution. Loyal Galaxy Note customers who want the same experience again have no other option but to purchase the most expensive Galaxy S22 model. There is no base model as there would have been had the Galaxy Note series not been ditched for good.

That doesn’t quite seem like the right away to reward the loyalty of customers who have stuck with this series for more than a decade. Nevertheless, what’s done is done, and Samsung has made it very clear that the Galaxy Note series isn’t coming back. Those loyal fans can either pay up for the Galaxy S22 Ultra or find some other device.

It seems that Samsung isn’t done putting things that its customers love the most on the chopping block. Multiple rumors and reports suggest that the Galaxy Watch 5 is going to ditch the physical rotating bezel. Ever since Samsung added the physical rotating bezel to its smartwatches, its loyal fans have sworn by it. There are many who can’t even fathom the possibility of using a smartwatch that doesn’t have a rotating bezel.

Samsung has been done this road before. When it launched the Galaxy Watch Active, the smartwatch ditched the bezel and didn’t provide an alternative. The company got a lot of backlash from its customers. Merely six months later, it launched the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that brought a digital rotating bezel as a compromise. The physical bezel would later return with the Galaxy Watch 3 and be retained with the Galaxy Watch 4.

The company already knows that this is a believed design element of its smartwatches. It has been able to poach a lot of customers from other brands in this segment only because of this thoughtful design. Yet, once again, it’s gearing up to make a surprising decision that will make its most loyal customers unhappy.

At least with the Galaxy Note’s demise there were some justifications that made sense. The chip shortage forced Samsung hand and it chose to prioritize foldables over the Galaxy Note. It also didn’t want a new Note series to compete with the new foldables since both would be launched around the same time in the second half of the year.

Why Samsung might be consdering ditching the rotating bezel is beyond comprehension right now. Customers haven’t complained about the way it looks, or the weight that it adds, or that it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. On the contrary, this was perhaps one of the best ways to use the smartwatch interface. Samsung’s execution of the rotating bezel combined with how it seamlessly worked with the software made it a great example of hardware and software in a harmonious state.

There could be no justification for this since customers haven’t really complained about anything related to the bezel. If anything, many more have considered buying a Samsung smartwatch just because it offered a design element that no other smartwatch did.

This has the potential of being a counterproductive move. Loyal customers who have stuck with the Galaxy Watch series might choose to not upgrade to the Galaxy Watch 5. The only way customers can vote is with their wallets and I have a feeling that they will do so if the new smartwatch doesn’t live up to their expectations.

It boggles the mind why Samsung is going against things that spark loyalty in its customers. Perhaps they don’t align with its vision of how it wants the products to evolve or perhaps it’s changing things just for the heck of it.

Whatever the case may be, one can only hope that the Korean juggernaut retains perspective on the situation and remains mindful of what happens to companies that seem to stop caring about what their most loyal customers think. As the industry has witnessed, the end is almost always never pleasant.

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