You Can’t Buy Loyalty
Customers Rock! blogger Becky Carroll always has great insights on customer experience. She points to a piece from blogger Chris Baggott, and his poston Best Buy’s Rewards Zone loyalty program. Chris’s position is that Best Buy’s “rewards” amount to no more that junk mail. As Chris shares:
I get paper based junk. My reward for spending around $10,000.00 since joining the program…..and the most recent offer following the holiday season?
A Credit Card Offer!!
Man do I feel special.
This is a campaign, nothing more. Marketing 1.0 just like the airlines. Monetize your list, not build better relationships with your “special” customers.
Chris is not alone in his feelings if the comments are any indication. Companies spend lots of money on loyalty programs. Often the approach is credit card based, primarily because the business model is a little more sellable to the CFO, but in the end, credit-based rewards only benefit the credit card company. Plans that offer incentives and perks don’t fare much better as they simply attempt to “buy” your customer’s loyalty.
So what is a winning formula for growing loyal customers? Here’s my simple list (not necessarily easy to do):
- Understand what your customers want. This requires you to actually talk with them and listen! Engage them in an ongoing conversation.
- Provide products and services that support the things they are passionate about. People’s passions drive where their disposable income gets spent. If you can tap into that, you become a destination.
- Help them to get the most out of the products and services you offer, both before and after the sale.
- Consistenly deliver great experiences that exceed expectations. Start by eliminating sources of dissatisfaction. Then act as an advocate for your customer at every touchpoint.
Advocacy is the key. You can’t buy loyal customers, but you can be their advocate and advocacy is contagious. A customer who is loyal to your brand because they see you as their advocate, will return the favor by advocating for you. That’s how you build loyalty!