I’m not talking about the glib friendships companies try to encourage by inviting their customers to be friends or fans on Facebook, but rather intimate and deep relationships that come from having a vested interest in the people that make their business possible. I recently came across a study by Michael Argyle and Monika Henderson at Oxford University on friendships. They identified a number of universal rules, which they published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. The rules included: Friends must provide support, respect privacy, share aspirations, dreams and be tolerant of other friendships. It is my belief that any company could use these rules as a framework for their customer experience and engagement framework.

You can read more of my thoughts on this issue in the white paper I wrote called Onions and Parfait: Why customer relationships no longer need to be a thing of fairytales and pirate stories.

Today I came across a great example of the third rule in action. Gwilym Davies co-owner of Prufrock Coffee at 140 Shoreditch High Street, and the current World Barista Champion, has come up with the “disloyalty card.” The idea is simple, you get a stamp on a card for visiting eight different quality focused coffee shops. After visiting the eighth “friend” (actually his competitors) He will say thank you by making you a cup of his own coffee for free. There is no catch Gwilym just wants people to try different quality coffees.

So swing by Prufrock Coffee shop grab a card, enjoy your tour of the best cafes and coffee shops around Central and East London and then go back to Prufrock for your free cup where you can compare notes with one of the best baristas in the world. Pure customer experience genius at work. Superb stuff!!

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