For anyone who flies this is old news…
Cashing in miles is frequently frustrating
“As travelers rack up more frequent-flier miles, airlines have cut back on free flights and upgrades… “
“Their loyalty to me left some time ago…I’ve simply reciprocated by flying whoever is cheapest.”
(Comment from a United Airlines customer.)
[Source: The News Journal]
Besides being old news it also points out a couple problems with most customer loyalty programs.
They’re hard work!
And they don’t necessarily accomplish their goals.
Most of us are busy enough. Our days our filled to the brim. We really don’t need more work added to the pile. Especially from the companies we do business with.
That’s why these loyalty programs don’t make sense to me.
Companies tell us how much they appreciate our business. And beyond telling us, they try to show us by “rewarding us” for our loyalty.
Except the reward takes a lot a of work. And in the end, it’s often hard to use (like cashing in frequent flyer miles). Often the reward isn’t much of a reward at all.
The problem is these programs are created with the wrong intent.
They’re not created to REWARD customers.
They’re created to KEEP customers.
See the difference?
If your intent is to reward me, your focus is on me. You’re thanking me for doing something. It’s a gift, an expression of gratitude. And it’s meant to benefit me, the recipient of the reward or gift.
But, if your intent is to keep me as your customer then you’re focusing more on your needs, aren’t you? Your focusing on getting something that benefits YOU, not me.
I’m not saying this is bad or wrong, but it’s important we see the difference.
Because our intent and focus will determine what result we create. When a company says they want to thank me or appreciate me, that creates a different response from me than if they say they want to keep me as a customer.
I don’t care what they want. So, the fact that they WANT to keep me as a customer rings hollow for me. It means nothing.
But…if they thank me and they do something that shows genuine appreciation, then my response will be different. At the very least I will feel good about them. And I’ll probably believe they care about me as a person, not just as a dollar sign on their profit and loss statement.
If I think someone at the company actually cares about me then we’ve made a personal connection. We have the makings of a relationship.
And that’s what you need to keep customers coming back.
As a customer, if you show me simple, honest gratitude, I’ll go miles out of my way to stick with you. That’s the best “loyalty program” in the world and it won’t cost a penny more!