The secret of a world-class loyalty program
It’s in Sydney. And it’s called Agnes.
I’m gob smacked by how well Agnes creates customers for life. I wish you could see it in action as I do every day. Agnes (Aggie) knows more about loyalty than almost every marketer I know – even those who think they’ve got it down pat.
Aggie is the angel in our café who makes me lunch most days. And coffee. And does so for around 500 people – from our building and lots from surrounding buildings. To a person we admire and love her. We can learn a lot from her.
Let’s face it, when it comes to loyalty, the experience customers most desire is the service Aggie delivers intuitively. We yearn for a contemporary shopping experience with the characteristics of the old corner store. Not B2B. Not B2C. But H2H - human to human:
· She knows us all well – our likes, dislikes and what we usually buy. Even the itinerants who visit the building maybe every 2nd or 3rd week
· She tells us when she has things she knows we’ll like.
· She doesn’t waste our time with irrelevant stuff. She knows I’m on a low carb routine and she’s helping ensure less of me turns up each day.
· She gives us all – all 500 or more of us – a sense of ‘personal recognition’. Beyond knowing every single coffee and sandwich order by heart. She can tell me who’s happy and who’s troubled. Which of the businesses in our building are stressed and which are cruising. Like a great loyalty program, she not only listens intently, she hears clearly.
· She cares about me (and everyone else) as a person; not just today’s sale. How about this? One of her customers was the Wallabies (Australian) Rugby coach. She got me some exercise tips from him.
And that’s why we all keep coming back. Day in and day out. Call it Customer Lifetime Value – Ogilvy House scale.
I suspect she’s already forgotten what some of our biggest marketers have yet to learn. Those who fall below Aggie-standard make these mistakes:
They analyse patterns of purchasing behaviour far too narrowly. They’re sales-driven not customer-focussed. They assume a pattern of purchasing behaviour indicates loyalty. (Which is where Big Data devotees are going to come a cropper if they’re not careful).
Focussing on what people are doing (behaviour) with insufficient understanding of why they’re doing it (attitude) is simultaneously the biggest problem and - for the savvy - the biggest opportunity. For, deep down, we all know loyalty is both attitudinal and behavioural…
Here’s a challenge. Think about the loyalty programs you know. How many make it to Tesco/Dunnhumby standard? Where they seem to know you almost better than you know yourself? Have a look at the simple “loyalty continuum” below. Where do they fit? Where is yours at?
At one end – the ‘1 free in 8’ coffee shop/dry cleaner cards. Simple Bribery. Through the middle is a variety of slow-burn sales promotions pretending they’re loyalty programs. But loyalty is to the currency, not the brand.
Then there’s the far right of the spectrum. That’s the place to strive for - where few currently are. Which means scope to truly stand out. These are the programs that are obsessed with brilliant satisfaction of customer needs. These companies build loyalty programs for the right reason – to collect data that enables them to satisfy customer needs brilliantly. That is what builds lifetime loyalty. These programs go beyond ‘surprise and delight’ all the way to devotion.
When you get to this point, you know you have an Aggie. And you’re totally smitten.