Customer loyalty is very much alive
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the rDialogue blog.
The future of loyalty marketing starts with brands being loyal to customers, going beyond rewarding customers for their "loyalty."
Consumer expectations continue to be unmet, leading to a bigger question of whether true customer loyalty is dying or even dead. Customer loyalty for RadioShack died last century. RadioShack used to boast that it had a store within ten minutes of 90 percent of the U.S. population and a database to match. Among other flaws, it suffered from lost relevance and an aging, no longer addressable, customer base.
Even brands where customer loyalty is still alive face epidemics of discounting, which when used en masse effectively kills customer loyalty. When an industry, brand and loyalty leader like Nordstrom capitulates and moves from semi-annual to seven sale periods a year, they become "just like all the other stores."
This lack of differentiation, exacerbated by merchandise commoditization, supports what a legendary retail CEO shared with us last week: namely, that he is not sure there is much, if any, loyalty left.
Yet in spite (and perhaps because) of such evidence, our view is that customer loyalty is very much alive.
The new loyalty leaders pursue strategies that align with the heart of our definition of loyalty marketing: that loyalty comes from paying attention to customers and acting accordingly.
These principles are reflected in some of the newest programs from favorite brands of ours like Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
These brands, partners of rDialogue, are flipping the dated loyalty models from the 1980s toward today, where customers are challenged to be loyal to brands and be rewarded in return. The new loyalty leaders do just the opposite: they demonstrate loyalty to those customers who are, and will be, most deserving.
What brands do you feel are loyal to you? For me, here are three:
- Delta Air Lines, who thanks me for being a Diamond Medallion Million Miler by occasionally picking me up at the jet way in a Porsche, and always offers a great experience in-flight.
- Kimpton is a friend who welcomes me back, knows it’s my tenth stay at a property, and has a nice Scotch waiting for me when I arrive.
- American Express makes sure I remember my Card benefits and offers based on where I am, so that I take advantage of them.
They make my travel better, remind me of benefits and offers, and genuinely act as though they know I’m a valuable customer.
- Customer Loyalty is Very Much Alive – rDialogue
- Loyalty Marketing is at the Forefront – rDialogue
- Brands Fail To Keep Up With Rising Expectations – MediaPost
- Nordstrom Is Getting Rid Of Its Big Semi-Annual Sales – Huffington Post
- Kimpton Karma Rewards – Kimpton Hotels
- Get Connected. Get Recognized. Unite! – Pittsburgh Steelers
Which retailers do you think have the most progressive and effective loyalty programs today? Are any retailers particularly successful with driving customer loyalty to sell goods without discounts?