imgres-1Loyalty is a loosely used word in today’s business culture.  Especially in the B2C world.  Here’s an example:  “Join our loyalty program and get our cool thing as thanks.”

I don’t feel loyalty to a big corporation because by definition that would infer a faithfulness or devotion to them.  I’m loyal to my family and to my friends, and would do anything to defend them because I value them in my life on an interpersonal level.

When I exchange my email and phone number with a business in exchange for something of value, that’s not loyalty, that’s reciprocation. And let’s be honest here, the business is getting the better end of the deal (but that’s a different post for a different day).

Let’s take Petsmart for example.  We are in Petsmart every 10 days purchasing crickets for my son’s lizard.  I drive a mile past their competition in order to go to Petsmart because their crickets are a few pennies less (it’s a principle thing).  Their cashiers are trained to ask with every transaction, “Do you have a Petsmart card?”

Reach across the register

So it’s at this very point in the transaction that I get peevish.  There is an opportunity right here in the transaction to separate themselves from their competition, and this is something any business can do and create a customer experience that takes it to the next level.  It’s so simple it’s ridiculous, yet highly effective in creating a sense of loyalty BACK to me.  We’re talking about a free and easy strategy to reach across the register and build loyalty.

It’s as simple as this, as soon as a customer tells you that they are part of your “loyalty” program, you look them in the eye and say with a smile,

“Welcome back Pamela, we totally appreciate your return business!”

Instead all I hear is… crickets.

You’ve trained your people to ask if I’m in the loyalty program, now train them to take it to the next level and acknowledge that I’m returning to you.  Teach them to be exceptional because let’s be honest, we’re not really loyal to you and if someone else treats us better we’ll give our money to them.