Buy 18, get your 10th free

In my video post yesterday I talked some more (…. ok, I’m a bit obsessed with this topic) about the difference between transactional loyalty and True Loyalty. Transactional loyalty is based on promotions and programs, (and the customer is only loyalty to the promotion or program) and True Loyalty is based on solid relationships (where the customer actually becomes loyal to your business and to her relationship with you).

This morning I went to get my car washed at Grand Prix Car Wash near my house.  As I got out of my car the guy with the vacuum handed me a ticket to take to the cash register.  I noticed that “You have 17 towards your 10th car wash free” was written on the bottom. I never noticed, but they type my license plate number in each time I enter the car wash and have been tracking my visits.

I asked the cashier to explain.  He gave me a form to fill out and said that my next car wash (the 18th) would be my 10th car wash free.

Do I even need to mention the easy ways Grand Prix Car Wash could turn this program from transactional loyalty to True Loyalty?  Ok, here are a few simple ideas …

  • Tell employees that the business (and their work) depend on loyal customers who return many times.  Help them see that the loyalty program will help them have more secure jobs … and better tips.  Bring them in on the story!
  • Keep track of progress for the customer.  Have the guy with the vacuum tell the customer, “Hey! This car wash is going to be free! Thanks for coming here so many times!”  If he misses it, the cashier can tell the customer.
  • Give the free car wash on the actual visit where the customer “notices” he’s earned it, not on the next visit.
  • Use the form only if a family wants to group multiple cars under one account.
  • Think about loyalty as a human concept, not as a promotional concept.

On a related front, check out the thoughtful comment from Shane of Home Made Pizza Company on this post I wrote about their slip into “Get your 10th free” transactional loyalty.

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