Maybe you’ve had an experience like this?
I called my cable television provider a few weeks ago because I’d seen them advertising some special deals for the holidays. I’ve been with them for a few years, and their hold message repeatedly claims that I’m a “valued customer”.
Well it turns out that their advertised rates are only for new customers and as an existing “valued customer” I did not qualify. On pressing the salesperson I discovered that the only way to qualify would be to close my account, wait 30 days, then reapply as a new customer.
This is called punishing loyalty.
I wasn’t on contract. Needless to say they lost me to a competitor.
In a day when business leaders talk so much about customer loyalty, why do we allow business strategies that punish loyalty? Why do we so often reward the fickle and neglect the faithful?
Sadly TimeWarner is employing a philosophy of value that can be seen in all kinds of organisations.
So what else does punishing loyalty look like?
- Managers who take their longest-serving staff for granted.
- Leaders who wait for everyone to arrive before starting meetings punish the timely and reward the tardy.
- Companies that lure new staff with premium salaries while loyal team members are trickle-fed CPI increases.
- Fostering “squeaky wheel” cultures where those who complain or rock the boat get your attention and those who are conscientious and compliant get ignored.
- Offering the best price/ best deal/ best seat/ best project to the last on board.
- Shipping substandard products to the passionate early adopters that require endless patches/ fixes/ recalls (think software giants).
If new customers or new team members around you feel special, while the loyal ones feel unappreciated, it might be time to rethink your values.
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Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™