True loyalty isn’t about acquisition

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By: Mary Beth McEuen

I was in a meeting yesterday where we were exploring better approaches for consumer loyalty. We talked about how loyalty programs would be better if customers were able to opt. in to the programs. We talked about how loyalty programs would be better if customers where able to opt. out of direct mail communications they really don’t want. We talked about what people really want from a loyalty program. Things like: make it more interesting and novel;make offers to me that I really want; make the reporting game-like and fun; give me a chance to connect with other people in a social network.

All of this sounded pretty good. And, then someone said something that was so simple … and so profound. He said that at the end of the day, many, if not most, loyalty programs are not about the customer. They are about the company acquiring more from the customer. And … most customers know this.

Whatever happened to serving customers? Isn’t that central to true loyalty? Intention matters. Perhaps the first question that needs to be asked when evaluating or initiating a customer loyalty program is, “what is your intention?”

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