Tip: Fear doesn’t improve customer loyalty

As marketers, our final goal in business is to persuade the customer to perform a certain action – visit our website, try our service, buy our product, and so on, through a series of targeted communication efforts.

When our marketing efforts fail to get the attention of new customers and keep existing customers coming back for more, they leave. Especially with our current economic situation, customers are more sensitive to the messages they receive and those they choose to reject.

I came across a great blog post over at Marketing for Technology where author Paul Dunay shared some valuable advice on how NOT to create customer loyalty in tough times.

As a loyal customer to a major hotel chain, Paul was taken aback when he recently found this email in his inbox:

Dear Mr. Dunay

We miss you! We noticed there hasn’t been any activity on your Hotel Loyalty card for 9 months and in order to keep your Hotel Loyalty card you must maintain activity at least once in a 12 month period. If we don’t see any activity in the next 3 months we will cancel your card and you will forfeit your points.

Signed the SVP of Customer Loyalty

So what’s a loyal customer to do in this situation?

Paul’s actions:

Immediately spent all my points on a gift for my son, called their hotline and cancelled my card and emailed the SVP of Customer Loyalty to tell him – I won’t be coming back even when the economic climate gets better.

The hotel permanently changed my behavior AGAINST them – way to go SVP of Customer Loyalty and thanks for the clock radio for my son!

Marketing tip of the day: Don’t try to scare customers into coming back. It doesn’t work.

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