I'm guessing that if you're reading this blog that you're a fairly IT literate type person and that when you search the Internet you "loyally" use Google as your preferred search engine. You're not alone. I read recently that Google processes over a billion search requests every day.
What you might see as a loyalty to Google as a tool is, in my opinion, more likely to be a mixture of habit, laziness and an expectation that Google will satisfy your need.
If someone was to successfully launch an effective rival to Google a few may stray and use this alternative search engine enticed by a snappy marketing campaign. And few more might move to join them if this new engine began to offer some incentives to new users. But I can guarantee that there would be a seismic shift away from Google if it began failing to satisfy what I call our "Expectation of Service".
Expectation of Service is actually what people typically confuse with customer loyalty. When we type something into Google we "expect" to get the results and answers we were looking for. When we visit a restaurant we "expect" good service, clean premises, no food poisoning etc (as you can see my expectations of restaurants are quite low). When we pop into a shop to buy a pair of shoes we "expect" them to have our size. We just "expect" to get the result we're after and if we don't then well ....... we try an alternative supplier. And if that supplier meets our expectation it gets our business. We were never loyal to Google, or that restaurant or that shoe shop; we just had expectations.
The same holds true for probably every sector, service and product within our western economy including my own sector - Recruitment.
So when you have what you consider "loyal" customers don't be fooled into thinking that they won't try a new recruiter. They might give that recruiter a go because they feel they ought to shake things up now and then and have seen some great marketing material. They might give that recruiter a go if they're offered an incentive like a great fee reduction deal. But they will definitely use that recruiter if you begin failing their "expectation of service".
This doesn't mean that every project has to go like clockwork. We all know this is a complicated world and the course of an appointment never did run smooth. But it is vital that you do what you say you're going to do, by the date you said it would be done by, you keep everyone informed and you continually monitor and respond to what your customer expects.
Otherwise you only have your self to blame when that "loyal" customer hurts you by trying someone new.