What is Customer Loyalty?

By Bob Morrell on March 17, 2017

One of the current focuses of many brands is the empowerment of their staff and managers through training and enablement, which generates engagement.

Whilst all these are essential they are rarely backed up by systems that make these things work!

1. Coffee shop loyalty cards. Next to our office a new coffee shop has opened and I go in at least twice every week. Every time I buy a coffee I get asked ‘do you have one of our cards?’ the answer is no, it’s at home with a pile of other loyalty cards. So they give me the receipt anyway explaining that I can add the points within 7 days. It’s just not going to happen.

Now, I know the reasons why this is important to them, to have data, and instil loyalty, but frankly if I carried every loyalty card my wallet would burst! So I said, ‘look I come in here, guaranteed 8 times per month, so why not just decide to give me a free coffee every couple of months? Then we don’t have to worry about points and cards…’ ‘Sorry we can’t do that!’. So, no empowerment, no enablement, and poor engagement from a customer’s perspective. I’m certain any Operations Director would simply say – 'of course they can do that! - let them’. Whilst a CFO will say ‘Hang on, how do we account for it?’. The good news is that regardless, that single empowerment would increase profits far quicker than the regimentation of the loyalty card…

2. Brand new car. A chap I know bought a brand new car. He specified loads of extras, including a high end stereo – he’s a big ‘prog rock’ fan – don’t ask – anyway when the car arrived, the stereo was the wrong one – still an upgrade from standard, but not the one he had ordered. The car was delivered to his house and he phoned the salesman. ‘This is not what I ordered, please take the car back.’ The salesman's response was ‘We can’t take it back – the stereo is pretty good, and everything else is as you specified…’ - He simply replied ‘I’m driving it back to you now.’ As he pulled up at the showroom the dealer principal met him ‘if we accept that car back we lose £10k immediately – what can we do so that you’ll keep the car?’ “Fit it with the right stereo.’ The whole process took months because the salespeople in the dealership didn’t prioritise the customer – really interesting that for such a high end purchase, nothing was done to instil any loyalty. So does loyalty come with a price tag?

This level of empowerment means the breaking of ingrained behavioural habits. It means that some people won’t be able to cope with the freedom they are suddenly given to make decisions. But in competitive markets these strategies will shape your brand’s success in the future and more customers will be drawn to those that really ‘get’ the importance of the right service and the right decision processes.

For more on how Reality Training can empower your managers, contact ann@realitytraining.com to arrange a meeting.