What is loyalty?
Is it a type of program to entice people in?
A series of discounts or market manipulations to incentivize?
A marketing claim to build confidence?
Is it a deep sentiment expressed by people towards each other?
A sense of mutual trust and confidence – especially when making challenging decisions?
A long-term commitment to something?
More and more companies seem to misunderstand this a bit, so I thought we might explore the notion of LOYALTY and its impacts on all operations.
It is easy for companies to claim ‘loyalty’ by merely documenting the number of repeat purchases, or length of service. These are easy numbers to tabulate, but are not always accurate. Making critical decisions based on erroneous assumptions leads to unpredictable results.
Loyalty isn’t just about shareholders and investors. It cannot merely be expressed by some mathematical equation that predicts the future based on past activities.
Loyalty is an emotional connection that it built between humans – whether they are serving as employees, managers, consumers, fans, and/or potential talent. This emotional connection is the reason we invest our time, talent, and other resources. Where there is high loyalty (external as well as internal), there will be lower need for manipulation.
Let’s look at the automobile industry for some powerful examples of manipulation.
Several months ago it was made public that Volkswagen used intricate software to tamper with emissions readings for some of their diesel engines in order to sell more vehicles. While a large civil law suit is still in play, the company recently agreed to a buy-back plan for nearly 500,000 US vehicles. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-volkswagen-emissions-usa-idUSKCN0XH2CX
To keep selling many models of their cars, Fiat-Chrysler failed to complete 23 safety recalls covering more than 11Million vehicles. They were fined $105Million in 2015 for the oversight. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/business/fiat-chrysler-faces-record-105-million-fine-for-safety-issues.html
Then are hit again earlier this month with recalls of 1.1Million more vehicles last week. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-fiatchrysler-recall-idUSKCN0XJ2I0
Perhaps these fees and fines can be fixed, or at least offset, by moving two plants to Mexico. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-fiat-chrysler-ram-jeep-production-20160427-story.html
In order to have more impressive estimated fuel economies, Mitsubishi lied about tire pressures during their lab tests. http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36089558
What do these actions say about their loyalties?
Looking towards the food industry, we see two extremes happening. First; McDonalds potential reaction to $15/hr minimum wage increase will be to replace many of their employees with self-serve kiosks.
This seems to come in stark contrast to Chobani CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya announcement of distributing 10% of his ownership of company to they helped build. Some estimate most employees to receive a benefit of at least a year or two’s worth of current salary.
As we move further into the 21st century, businesses will need to become more transparent, authentic, and more loyal to people rather than money. Build loyalties with respect and human kindness and they will reflect back the same.
The simplest reason is the technology that fits in the palm of our hands. Everyone now has a digital voice, a platform to shout it, as well as the ability to curate and share the voices we want. Each of us are influencers to many others and play vital roles in making messages spread.
How will you build loyalties?