Whatever happened to loyalty?

In the 1980’s and 1990’s brands and businesses wanted more from their customers than just money. They wanted a relationship, connections, understanding and a multitude of ways to get to know them better so they would be committed, faithful and loyal.

But in 2019, things are very different. Portable technologies, the internet, an ability to change suppliers quickly and easily, combined with the availability and accessibility of price comparison messaging, has made loyalty a thing of the past.

You can’t make me feel guilty!

But thanks to greater levels of choice and a need for a better client experience, today’s consumers all ditching past behaviours and looking to embrace products, services and indeed people who are relevant, empathetic, remove hurdles in our lives and make everything just seem better. And because we don’t seem to feel guilt anymore, as we search for things to make us happy - albeit in the short term, we pick up and drop people, products/services and established relationships without it troubling us greatly.

Relationships count for nothing!Recently I attended a networking group which I have been a member of for several years. Whilst enjoying a cup of tea with a group of fellow business owners, someone who I have known for a while and who knows exactly what I do, was extolling the virtues of another social media trainer that they were about to use. This person is not a member of the networking group, but apparently had promised the earth at a very knock down and unrealistic price. My fellow networker was smitten and despite the fact we had an established relationship, she was quite happy to tell me about her new supplier with no apparent sense of guilt that she had not been polite enough to consult me first!

Know, like and trust!

Now I know that in business you work with people that you know, like and trust, but today’s world is often far more cut-throat and aggressive than it needs to be. Millennials and Generation Z consumers don’t give a hoot about loyalty and their behaviours seem at odds with my own value system.

I believe if you meet and network with people on a regular basis, when you are looking to use someone’s services, you think about who you know first and speak to them rather than having your head turned by someone cheaper, flashier and full of the talk. But I’m in the minority. Take yesterday for example. I was at a monthly networking lunch when someone else in the room stood up to do their 60 seconds and mentioned that they also do social media services, despite the fact it was a lock out group and I was also in the room.

Emotional connections

So, if you can’t rely on those around you that you know to support you, what’s the solution? Well for me it’s simple – I’m too old to change my value system and too world weary to reinvent myself. Going forwards I will continue to create strong emotional connections with people who know, like and trust me and appreciate that my service offering, and its price, is based on specific knowledge, many years of experience and finely-honed skills. I always put my client’s needs first and I work my hardest for them so they can achieve their goals. Now if this is old-fashioned then so be it. But I’m not changing who I am in order to appeal to a flaky and frankly disloyal generation, who just want things to be easy!

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