The article on customer loyalty (MW December 14) raised some interesting points and I would like to add to these.
Loyalty is an ambiguous word because it is so easy for customers to be promiscuous. It doesn’t seem like stores with loyalty cards have built up relationships with their customers to stop this promiscuity – although I think airlines are better at it than supermarkets. Consumers are familiar now with companies giving back some of their profits in the form of loyalty points and are getting good at playing them off against each other.
The real value to brands is in the information loyalty cards hold on consumers. However, to date many brands have failed to capitalise on this wealth of information. The huge volume of information just sits there looking overwhelming and intimidating. Perhaps this is why Safeway ended its ABC card scheme.
It is imperative that brands use this kind of information to help them communicate with customers (and prospects) in more relevant, less intrusive and more worthwhile ways than we are used to. They should use this valuable information intelligently to direct their brand language and messages but they must not come across as “big brother’s watching you” about it!
However, the information held on loyalty cards only forms part of the picture about customers. For a fuller picture, brands should be aware of what’s going on in people’s daily lives, taking stimulus from all sorts of places, both expected and unexpected sources.
Client Services Director