“In order to better serve you, our loyal customer, we’re making it even more difficult for you to redeem your hard-earned points for air travel.” The email didn’t use those words, but that was the bottom line. In the past few months many of my loyalty programs – airlines, hotels, local stores – have changed their rules to make it more difficult or costly to use my accrued points. But the PR spin doesn’t work. I feel alienated and less likely to recommend these companies to a friend. Judging from the negative comments on blogs and Twitter, I’m not the only one.
Brand loyalty programs were designed to help companies convert their loyal customers into raving advocates for products and services. Brand loyalty is built when an organization fulfills its promises, over and over again. If an organization breaks its promise to you once, you’ll probably forgive them. But if engaging with them results in costing you more time, money and emotional energy than expected, you’ll probably go somewhere else.
The same holds true for your leadership.
Loyalty, the giving and showing of constant support and allegiance, is built day by day, promise by promise. Every interaction with a friend or coworker is an opportunity to build your own brand of friendship. Were you on time or late? Were you fully present or distracted by incoming texts? Did you really listen? Did you follow through after the conversation?
Gary Runn, my brother-in-law, has said the maturity is the ability to make and keep commitments to others and to myself. Maturity breeds loyalty. And loyalty as a leader will set you apart.
Deep down, loyalty is about character. When you are loyal you reflect one of God’s most enduring character qualities. The Bible constantly reminds us that God is good and that “his steadfast love endures forever.” Chesed, the Hebrew term for steadfast love, means covenant loyalty. God is committed. His support and allegiance are constant. That sets him apart.
What can you do today to demonstrate loyalty and set yourself apart?