I wonder how many of you reading this blog have received benefits for your loyalty to a company or service?

There are many loyalty programmes around today, some good and others pretty average.

To me it seems such an easy platform for companies and services’ to acknowledge the public, who continually support them – yet this week I have been so frustrated with the car hire companies who don’t seem to get this concept.

We have used the same company almost consistently for 6 years, and to date haven’t received a courtesy call, a free tank of petrol or a discount voucher.  In fact the tiny packet of mints is as good as it gets.

One would think that loyal clients who run an account with a car hire company would get better rates, but again this isn’t true – any random person, with no history pitching up at the counter, often get a better deal when hiring a car for the day.

In this day of computerised data bases and CRM’s I have to wonder how this happens.

There is a direct relationship between customer loyalty and a company’s growth and profitability.

Fred Reichheld describes loyalty – as the willingness to make an investment or personal sacrifice to strengthen a relationship.

The important word here is relationship. If a company is always reducing its prices or running on ‘specials’ this will attract customers. However this is not loyalty or relationship, as they would just as quickly go else where when the price is right.

One just needs to watch the British football games or a Sharks v Blue Bulls match to see loyalty at its best. Loyalty comes from within, it benefits us, it makes us happy and we enjoy the story, the feeling of belonging and being a part of the journey, even through good and hard times.

Suvodeep Das, head of marketing at Kaya Skin Clinic, says retaining a customer is easier than attracting a new one. “If a customer has come all the way to your store, if she has experienced our services and liked them, it is far easier for a retailer to retain them rather than look for new customers,” he said

The Customer Loyalty Institute has this to say: “Customer loyalty is all about attracting the right customer, getting them to buy, getting them buy often, buy in higher quantities and bring you even more customers.

However, that focus is not how you build customer loyalty.

You build loyalty by…

  • Keeping touch with customers using email marketing, thank you cards and more.
  • Treating your team well so they treat your customers well.
  • Showing that you care and remembering what they like and don’t like.
  • You build it by rewarding them for choosing you over your competitors.
  • You build it by truly giving a damn about them and figuring out how to make them more success, happy and joyful.

In short, you build customer loyalty by treating people how they want to be treated.

It’s all about relationships and with all the technology available today, there is no excuse or space for companies who are not thinking in this space, of retaining and rewarding customers.

TomorrowToday Global