Several things have happened this week that got me thinking about loyalty and patronage. The first was the rather mundane task of renewing my car insurance. A quick visit to a rather well known website that is often apparently confused with one about meerkats, showed me that my renewal deal wasnt so much of a deal after all. A swift phonecall to said insurer to see if they would play the game and at least match the best deal on the website was met with a swift rejection - "your quote is the best deal we can offer". Funny that, because on CTM's website you were actually offering me a better deal as a "new customer" than your renewal quote offered me as an existing customer. So I shall do what any sensible person would do, and vote with my feet. Two more phonecalls and i have a new insurance policy and have cancelled my old one. They offered no reward for loyalty.
Other the last couple of weeks we have had several returning customers expressing pleasure at seeing im still here. Whilst doing immense good for my ego, it got me thinking about the industry i work in. Last week i was down in London for the launch of the Atelier Ruinart and took part in a lively discussion about the challenges we face in staffing and developing within the industry. Ive been in my current role for the best part of 8 and a half years now, which for this industry is a long service award type of stretch. I often joke that one more year and i will be eligable for parole (but i wont get it as i havent been a good boy!). But staff loyalty is becoming increasingly rare. These days people want to rack up a good looking CV, spending the bare minimum time in one place, long enough to look ok on the CV but not too long to miss out. Often its financially led, sometimes the only way to get a pay increase is to move on. Sometimes its about expanding the experiences, further development and training. Occasionally the grass actually is greener, but often times it isnt, and six to nine months later they move again. I think that the industry isnt doing enough to encourage loyalty, isnt open enough about opportunities within the workplace, isnt open enough about recognising acheivement and rewarding that loyalty, and if they want to see their employee turnover drop and their productivity rising then they need to address that.
My last brush with loyalty came when i was checking some invoices. One of our suppliers invoices didnt tally with our purchase order. Normally this is a pain in the neck as i have to check through price-lists and then chase down an answer. Usually the suppliers price is higher than our PO and it means we have to track down an answer. In this case though it was the other way round. Our PO was more than the invoice. A quick check over and it seems they had applied a discount to most of the wines. A quick call to the guy we deal with and the answer was some welcome news. As they had seen a reasonably large increase in the volume of orders they wanted to reward that with a discount across most of the lines. A reward for the loyalty of our business over the years and recognition of the growth of our purchasing through them. Tell you what, it makes me want to purchase more through them now. Not like a certain car insurance company.