Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Loyalty Programs

It struck me the other day.  After being on the road for 11 years, why have I found so few hotels that I’m loyal to?  What’s up with THAT? 

One of the primary reasons is because through Priceline, Travelocity and I might get a four-star hotel at a two-star price.

I think we all do it.  Your so-called loyal clients shop you around a bit and maybe you shop them around before deciding if you’ll give them your business.

Is there ANY loyalty ANYWHERE? 

I was thrilled to get a call from one car rental agency who asked me what it would take for them to get all of my car rental business.  I agreed not to collect loyalty points and they agreed to give me their best corporate rate and priority service.  Done deal.  I use them every time!

I’ve almost forgotten that Westjet exists, since achieving elite status with Air Canada.  Free drinks, food and magazines in the Maple Leaf lounges, along with upgrades and priority service are pretty addictive perks!!! 

What are the privileges of being your customer?  Are they enough to make people forget the big promises made by the internet, the home shopping channel, chain-stores and your direct competitors? 

How about formally awarding elite status to your best customers?  I know some retailers whose best clients spend tens-of-thousands of dollars in a good year.  Isn’t it worth throwing them a few perks to keep them from straying? 

·      Priority back-office sales appointments.
·      Consults with participating sales reps who might sell them something outside of your ordinary inventory.
·      Free ring-sizing and appraisals.
·      Free delivery service. 
·      Advance notice and front-of-the-line opportunity for sales events.
·      A client night once or twice a year, where you show them a fantastic time to thank them for their loyalty.
o   Give an award to the “big spender” at this event
o   Don’t make it a sales event.  They will likely respond and purchase if you do, but think about the long-term impact of doing something JUST FOR THEM.
·      Keep a card-file or file folders with the names of your loyalty club members and a log of their visits; as a visual reminder that:
o   You have many loyal clients, so they’re in good company
o   You earnestly want to pay attention to their ongoing business

In this world of intense competition, loyalty is not a given.  It’s harder to get than ever before and in order to keep the loyalty, you’ll have to do more.

What if a jeweller was chatting them up at the gym, and they were able to say, “no thanks, I’m a platinum client at Todd’s Jewellers.”  That’s exactly what you’re after.  We want them to think, “I’d have to be a fool to deal with anyone else, regardless of price.”

Loyally yours,


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