How is your dating life going if you…

  1. Give out a reward card on your first date and after each date you punch a heart and offer a reward of carnations after 5 punches and roses after 10?
  2. For last-minute dates, you offer double points (two punches)?
  3. You offer specials such as a free dessert if your date has not gone out with you for 6 months?

The only way to describe your dating life would be “NOT good!” Your best friends may even consider an intervention and ask you “Why are you trying to buy love? Why are you being so desperate?”

You may be feeling uncomfortable with this discussion itself. But many brands do this exact thing to increase loyalty, as they measure loyalty by squeezing out one extra visit (date) from a customer.

What is loyalty? I describe it as being “FAITHFUL, TRULY COMMITTED, DEVOTED, REGULAR, STAUNCH, or ALWAYS THERE” Those words describe a relationship, a feeling of being close, or best friends. Loyalty is not getting an extra date or visit at any cost, instead it is about putting your customers first. Listening to them, getting to know them, and connecting to them in a meaningful way. Just like the dater was thinking of themselves first, the same way most loyalty programs put the brand’s win first, and often do not care about what customers feel. There is a place for a REWARD PROGRAM, where guests visit and aspire to achieve something of value, and not just get products they already would have bought at a discount.

Currently most brands do not measure loyalty, and they are not driving loyalty; but often they call their program a loyalty program as it sounds good. The time has come for every brand, small and big to wake up and put their customers first. Click here for a white paper on the True Loyalty™ vision.

A Story: Heart Broken On Valentine’s Day

This year on the morning of Valentine’s day, a Coffee company sent me a “Buy one get one free” (BOGO) offer valid only for this Valentine’s day. I know brands segment their customers and send them offers based on who they are and what they need. Does that mean the Coffee company saw me as a cheapo customer who looks for BOGO offers when taking my Valentine out?  Then I read the offer closely and realized that it was only valid after 3 pm.

Still, I showed up at 5 pm and ordered a latte and a chai. To my surprise I was charged full price. Now I was ready to fight, but before I could escalate this, the Barista showed me the offer was valid for espresso drinks only. This was not nice, a “double limited offer” that really got me. I left FEELING CHEATED, after buying two drinks at full price on a day I didn’t even want one.

Yes Coffee company, you won. You got an extra visit and two extra beverage purchases from me, but trust me, you will not be my valentine ever again. Any Valentine’s day BOGO should be a total NOGO.

True Loyalty:

  1. Measure: Connection
  2. Goal: Customer Win
  3. Manifestation: Customers choosing you more often

Questions for You:

Checklist for your current Loyalty program:

  1. How do your customers feel when they:
    • Hear from you?
    • Visit you because of it?
    • A few days after?
  2. Are you putting your transaction needs ahead of customer’s wins?
  3. How are you conditioning your customers?