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11 posts from July 2012

Who's on your side? Loyalty is something we feel, not something we count.

At the GEL Conference in 2007, I heard restaurateur Danny Meyer give a presentation about hospitality. He said good service doesn't have to be 'flawless.' Good service occurs when you feel the waiter or host is 'on your side.'  Tq-120713-pb

We don't expect our friends, family and service providers to give up their livelihoods for us, but we do expect them to recognize and respect our needs. We need to feel it. And when we feel it, we can tolerate mistakes, misfortune, and deprivation. 

FutureLab: Customer loyalty and advocacy, 2012-May-28, by Maz Iqbal

Human existence, being-in-the-world, is characterised by CARE. We care about how our lives turn out – we are designed to survive and we strive to flourish. Care gives rise to and is tied up with CONCERN – we have concerns that we have to address if we are to survive and flourish. John Bowlby pointed out that we need ‘SECURE BASES’ – people, places, organisations, communities where we matter, where we feel cared for, where we can count on others to care for us and what matters to us.

Consider the best kind of loyalty we could have

Tq-120709-hbAs I've been trying to understand loyalty, I've come to realize that it includes an element of submission. When we are truely loyal, we submit to the other party's needs. 

Customer Centric Growth: The world's best loyalty program, 2012-Jun-12, by Steven P. Dennis

Many of the world’s most powerful brands–Apple, Four Seasons, Louis Vuitton, just to name a few–have managed to thrive without such programs.

Let’s face it, most “loyalty” programs are some combination of ruses to collect customer data or serve as customer bribery schemes for the most promiscuous shoppers. Worse yet, many are simply me-too efforts that are knee jerk reactions to the competition which end up raising the cost of doing business without engendering true loyalty.

I understand that there are situations where loyalty programs have become competitive necessities. But before embarking on an expensive and complicated launch (or re-design) take a hard look at your underlying value proposition and customer strategy to make sure you are solving for the right problem.

Find the value first, then make the connection

When the values inside a company are out-of-sync, even the best intentions can be useless. We have to find the values that connect us and recognize the ones that don't. This approach takes a level of maturity that's rare to find. You can be the grownup. 

Culturesync: Tribal Leadership, 2012-Jun-26, by Deirdre Gruendler

If you are looking to impact your tribe, start first with yourself. Begin by listening for the values present all around you including your own, those of your boss, and your colleagues. Next, start connecting people by the values that they share. When you do, culture, strategy, and structure will begin syncing more easily than you could have imagined.

Partnering for loyalty

In many categories, customers have low interest in interacting with the provider. (One time I had to do follow up research on heating and air conditioning customers. They couldn't care less about it--as long as it was working.) One of the best ways to raise interest is to partner. 

Wall Street Journal: Retail Electricity, by Selina Williams, 2012-Jun-18. Via

The utilities, meanwhile, “feel they have much to gain from the marketing experience and brand awareness of retailers.” In Australia, AGL Energy and Coles Supermarkets are collaborating on a loyalty program that “gives AGL residential customers rewards points for discounts on Coles purchases and gives Coles shoppers points if they switch their gas or electricity account to AGL.” A key benefit to both is the resulting insights into their mutual customers. For example, “a shopper who buys a lot of organic goods might be more receptive to solar panels.” As AGL’s Michael Briggs explains: “You’ve got to be able to understand consumers, to segment them … and retailers are better at understanding the customer.”