Overcoming ‘Trapped Loyalty’: Notes from STM 2018

The STM US Annual Conference is always a great place to catch up with industry colleagues and to gauge the concerns, developments, and ambitions that are top of mind for the STM organizations we work with.

STM US Annual Conference graphic

One idea that really stood out for me came from Judy Verses, EVP Research at Wiley. She recounted a story from a software company that she had worked for earlier in her career. When she first arrived there she initiated a survey about how the company was perceived by their customers. The results came back extremely negative. She was horrified — but when she brought the findings to the CEO, he said, “Well, academics are just complainers. We have a 94% renewal rate.”

It was here that she fully discovered the concept of “trapped loyalty” — where customers renew not because of satisfaction but because the alternative (migration to a better service) is judged as even more painful. But when an better alternative comes around that can make migration less painful, the customers will leave. (In fact, this happened and the firm quickly lost market share after a new entrant made migrations less painful.)

My first takeaway from this story is to continue to serve our customers closely and never take their loyalty for granted (like that CEO did). Second, we must continue working at Silverchair to make migrations easy and painless so that customers who feel trapped by their current platform will be empowered to choose a better service.


Thanks to those with whom we connected at STM 2018, and please consult our upcoming events calendar for future conferences at which to meet up with us.

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