Saturday, December 22, 2007

Don't Be Stupid - You Can't Earn Loyalty

I have finally reached the point where I must respond to the never ending blogs and pronouncements about new ways to "earn" customer loyalty. The fact is you CAN"T earn customer loyalty. It is IMPOSSIBLE!!!

Start with the definition for loyalty as found in Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language:
loyalty - 1. the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations. 2. faithful adherence to a sovereign or to a government, or to a leader, cause or the like. 3. an example or instance of faithfulness, adherence or the like.

Under the heading of synonyms there are the following:
1. Loyalty, alligiance, fidelity all imply a sense of duty or of devoted attachment to something or someone.
2. Loyalty connotes sentiment and the feeling of devotion which one holds for one's country, creed, family, friends, etc.

I think those who use the phrase building loyalty really mean building trust. Again referring to the same dictionary for defintion of the word trust:
trust - 1. reliance on the integrity, strenth, ability, surity, etc. of a person or thing; confidence. 2. confident expectation of something; hope. 3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property or goods received; credit. 4. one on whom or that on which one relies; God is my trust. 5. the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted. ...

Under the heading of synonyms there are the following:
1. certainty, belief, faith. Trust, assurance, confidence imply a feeling of security.
2. Trust implies instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something: to have trust in one's parents.

I hope that by examining these two definitions, the distinction is clear. Loyalty is derived from trust. Therefore, the way customer loyalty increases is through increased trust by the customer in the company's products and services.

The bottom line is that the words loyalty and trust need to be used correctly so that business plans can be developed to solve the correct problem. If it is the desire of a company to increase customer loyalty, then the challenge is to create programs and processes that will build trust with the customer.

Remember, you can't earn loyalty BUT you can earn trust!

1 comment:

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

 

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