Most companies are living in a fantasy world, thinking that their “loyalty programs” are actually delivering customer loyalty.
But these are not actually doing anything of the sort. They’re merely rewarding repetitive purchase behaviour.
That’s not loyalty. It’s bribery. And it’s vulnerable to a better reward scheme from a competitor.
Genuine loyalty comes from the heart, not the head, and it opens the wallet. Look at Apple, which (according to some wry observers) is more of a cult than a brand. Apple loyalists will buy anything the company introduces, without rewards and almost irrespective of the price.
Loyalty isn’t something than be bought. It can’t be outsourced. It has to be earned. Companies which enjoy it deliver real customer relationships, care and benefits every single day.
So my advice is: always aim for the heart. The head (and the money) will always follow. That’s loyalty you can bank on.