Thursday, September 16, 2010

Discover Says They’re #1 in Loyalty. Does Anyone Care?

I saw a TV commercial for the Discover credit card the other day and they made a claim that caught my eye. It was one of those “we’re #1” declarations, in this case: We’re “#1 in customer loyalty”.

The claim was not explained during the commercial and it got me wondering: to a consumer, what does being #1 in customer loyalty really mean? Is there a benefit, implied or otherwise?

Now I’ve worked in loyalty marketing for several years, and don’t think of myself as jaded—but my initial reaction to the claim was, “who cares?” It actually got me wondering if Discover was #1 in loyalty because they had retained a lot of long-time cardholders with monstrous balances who couldn’t switch cards during these tight financial times.

So I did a little research on the Discover corporate Web site and found some substance behind the #1 claim. There it said that: “Discover Card ranked #1 in customer loyalty among leading credit card brands according to the 2010 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index Report.”

Okay, as a loyalty insider I know a little about Brand Keys. But what does this mean to a consumer? I did a little more digging on the Brand Keys site and read they measured loyalty over several categories with a “combination of proprietary psychological assessments and higher-level statistical analyses, allowing us to statistically fuse the “emotional” values with the “rational” attributes that identify the bond that exists between brand and consumer.”

Hmmm, I was still scratching my head. It didn’t appear to be anything that could remotely be translated into consumer-friendly language. Which got me questioning why the claim was made in the first place.

Customer loyalty is an end result, a desired outcome of the great product and service you offer. So rather than tell me your customers are loyal, tell me why they’re loyal—amazing customer service, lower fees, a unique add-on benefit—and how this will benefit me.

Sure, being #1 in customer loyalty sounds nice, and we do know that Discover puts a happy face on lots of consumers, but these days most people don’t want to hear corporate chest bumping—they want a brand that delivers tangible benefits, with each and every transaction.

This blog post originally appeared on Loyalty Truth, Setember 08, 2010, via creative director/writer Tom Rapsas.

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