As I write and work in the loyalty space, I sometimes stop to think about the places I consider myself loyal to. There aren’t a lot of them; I frequent my grocer and use a friend’s phone number instead of a club card, and I usually don’t cave to the deals offered by loyalty programs. For other businesses, I am fiercely loyal, and make it a point to recommend “my” businesses whenever friends or tourists ask. “Why so loyal?” you ask? Because they all have one thing in common: a socially-charged mission.
We’ve all recently seen the growth of products, stores, and restaurants that are “organic”, “community-centric”, “buy-one-donate-one”, and a host of other really great social missions. This is the new business; not just profit, but purpose. I love this kind of thing, and its a commonality among those I’m loyal to — and there’s a reason for that. People are loyal to the businesses that represent who they are.
And sometimes that is reward enough for me. But it brings about an important point: your most loyal customers are loyal for a reason beyond your food and service. The customer engagement aspect of this is learning about your customers’ missions. When running your loyalty program, think about what you can do to help them make a difference, to show them that your business cares for some mission — just like them.