Harvesting loyalty by planting integrity

Recently we had the chance to visit one of our favourite places in the US, the beautiful town of Stowe, Vermont. What keeps us coming back for almost 18 years now is the heart warming welcome from the innkeepers, and the time they invest in catching up with us year after year about their family, sharing their town’s progress and latest must-sees. We love the quaint village’s authenticity, its unique shops (no chains), Austrian architecture, mountain scenery and multicultural restaurants with impeccable service. (Thank you Jean Drolet and team from the Innsbruck Inn).

In a former job, I was asked to help tourism businesses harvest this “loyalty” seed, a smart focus since retaining guests and clients is more efficient and profitable from a marketing standpoint than attracting new ones year after year. The key is to foster your Word of Mouth from satisfied clients.

Which led me to think about all these “loyalty cards” in my wallet… Is offering a free goodie after the 10th one really keeping us loyal for the right reasons or just creating habits everyone else can also offer? Considering the membership points, rewards, air miles and so on in many industries; what if the quality of the service or work and sense of recognition was enough to harvest customer satisfaction without the gimmicks?

A happy customer who feels he or she has been treated not only fairly but with extra care will be your very best ally in your sustainable growth. Going the extra mile and creating a sense of belonging will be your very best time investment, as long as it is planted from integrity. The easiest way to ensure long term viability for any business is to genuinely look after your loyal customers and also value your strong partners or suppliers who allow you to perform at your very best. A little show of appeciation (even a bottle of wine!) can then crown your partnerships!