Winning Customer Loyalty Takes More Than a Card

Post by Ray 2 years ago - Social Business - 6 Comments

How many companies exceed our expectations?

How many deserve customer loyalty? How many build brand advocates?

I ask because I’ve been thinking about the difference between companies that are receptive to opening up their culture to being social and those who don’t think they need to.

Loyalty card

Being social is about building relationships through acquired trust.

Of course, you don’t have to be on social media to be social, but you do have to be social to be on social media.

Technology aside, online or off, there are companies that evolve and those that revolve around old rules of business. 

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, 

but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin


There’s a disconnect between what companies think they do and what the reality is.

Most would say they’re doing their job by serving their clients.

They confuse “extra” for exceptional.

The Loyalty Card.

These “never have them when I need them” wallet stuffers are bribes.  We’ll return and put up with mediocre service for that extra cup of coffee down the road.


This is what I see when I think loyalty card…

I shuffle up to the counter, dig around in my wallet to pay for my coffee then remember I have a “card”.

I shuffle through a deck of other loyalty cards, pull out the right one and hand it over to the droid behind the counter with a smile

“Oh look, I remembered my card today.”


Droid takes the card, turns it over a few times, calls the manager over who looks over it, checks the calendar and gives the approval.

Droid then opens a drawer, rifles through it looking for the stamp-a-ma-jiggy. It lets out loud sighs that causes its eyeballs to roll each time.

I turn and smile apologetically to the expanding line behind me. 

Ah ha! Object found. The card is stamped and the android speaks…

“Just one more and you’ll get the next one free! (smiley face)

…Have a nice day. Next…”


These cards are good at making us repeat customers, but do they make us loyal?

Do they turn us into brand advocates?

They’d have to do better than that.


Perhaps we should give out a loyalty card to businesses.

Oh, wait, we do. It’s called money.

Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.Jeffrey Gitomer

Your turn. Would you return to a business if you didn’t have its loyalty card?


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About Ray Hiltz

Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.

Janeen Violante
Janeen Violante

Great post, Ray. I know if I treat each customer like they're my only customer and their job is THE most important thing to me....well, that's how I like to be, the GOLDEN RULE holds true--treat others the way you want to be treated..even customers!


Ray, This post really resonated with me - primarily because I just finished the book "Grow Regardless" by Joe Mechlinski.  Joe posits that consumer expectations have risen to the level where you have to consistently exceed expectations in order to grow, which to me is to nurture and develop loyalty. Most companies, unfortunately, don't have a good sense of where they stand on this - from the customer's perspective.  Quick hint, do a culture check and start at the top! I remember a local yogurt shop offering the punch card deal - I had five of them in various places around my car, home and office - all with one punch. I quickly lost interest in the process and the crappy service - and both played a part in my move to another shop. Rich


This is a topic worth of a conference talk. Why some companies are open to Social Media, while some others are not? Being Social online is as important as being social offline.


Janeen Violante Thanks, Janeen. Especially customers! :-)


richmac I'll have to check that book out. Thanks, Rich. The "culture" word.  You're right that it has to start at the top. I wonder if we're fooling ourselves into believing that companies can adopt social culture with social media. Like adopting twins. The mentality of owners who think customers enjoy managing loyalty cards and serving themselves at "for your convenience" counters, won't understand that loyalty goes both ways. Appreciate your feedback. Thanks again.