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Customer Loyalty Programs

January 17, 2010

Thank YouLast weekend, my wife and I decided to hit up our local Smoothie King ( after a run. We had a coupon, which is usually the case, for a buy one, get one deal. We arrived and it was Happy Hour from around 1-4pm so they said they didn’t accept the coupon. Okay, getting the Happy Hour deal was better, no worries there, I’ll use it next time.

However, upon paying for our smoothies, as I went to hand my loyalty punch card to the cashier, I was told that they do not stamp loyalty cards during Happy Hour. I think this sends the wrong message and, instead, sends one that is the complete opposite of the program’s intent.

A loyalty program is really about making your customers feel appreciated. The intent is to reward customers for being loyal and supporting your business through consistently buying your good or service. It should count during all hours of everyday. A loyal customer is too valuable to nickel and dime with policies such as this one.

Saying “We don’t punch cards when you come at Happy Hour” tells the customer “You’re not worth any more to my business than the guy that just came in for the first time.”  That’s simply not true. A loyal customer is much more important. A loyal customer is not only consistent business, they are walking, talking, tweeting, advocates for your business. If, you treat them right.

I ended up posting my story and suggestions on Smoothie King’s Facebook Fan Page (  I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d get a response. However, within a couple of days, I received a Facebook message from Bobby Williams, VP of Marketing at Smoothie King.  He thanked me for my loyalty and suggestions and threw a few free smoothie cards my way as well.  This part of my experience impressed me. (No, not the free smoothies.) The fact that Smoothie King is utilizing Facebook and listening to their customers means they understand how important they are. Whether or not the particular franchise changes their policy, I’m happy to be heard.

Consider your own loyalty programs and policies. Do you have any? It doesn’t have to be something as structured as a punch card or points program.

It should absolutely include the way you listen to and respond to your customers.


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