Customer loyalty is the most valuable thing a manufacturer or retailer can have, and for years Apple has been the model of creating the kind of loyalty other companies can only dream of. But even the best sometimes falter, as witnessed by Apple’s iPhone misstep last week. Apple angered many of its most loyal customers by dropping the price of its iPhone to $400 from $600—only two months after it first went on sale. All of those customers who rushed out and bought the device suddenly and embarrassingly found that they had overpaid by $200—and they let the company know in blogs, e-mails, and phone calls.
Two days after the price cut, Apple conceded its blunder with a $100 store credit for early iPhone buyers. “Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these,” Steven Jobs wrote in a letter posted to Apple’s Web site.
With football season having just kicked off, it’s nice to see a fumble recovered—and the victory going to the customer.