Loyalty is defined as the quality of being loyal to someone or something. Have you ever noticed how loyalty is discussed, though? We talk about how customers are loyal, how employees are loyal, how clients are loyal, how voters are loyal…
- Employers talk about employee loyalty, but then they hire external, don't develop their own talent internal, or worse – they layoff loyal talent. Why is their loyalty only to the bottom line or the shareholder?
- Politicians expect voter loyalty, but then we elect leaders who vote along party lines and forget who they're supposed to be representing. Why is their loyalty to their party greater then their constituent?
- Companies talk about customer loyalty, but they offer newly acquired customers more attention and a better deal than existing ones. Where is their loyalty to existing customers? I love the video from Ally bank that takes a humorous look at customer acquisition
So why do we always measure loyalty from the bottom up?
It seems whenever anyone in a leadership person discusses loyalty, they're not talking about their loyalty, they're talking about the how customers or employees are loyal to them. Why does it work that way? I don't think it should.
Loyalty is important to me. When someone looks me in the eye and they shake my hand, I value that more than any legal document or signature. When someone bails on it, like a vendor or partner, I get downright nasty. If they are willing to sacrifice their loyalty, there's nothing they won't do for a buck. I'll go out of my way to never do business again with a company like that.
The only clients I expect loyalty in are the ones that we've invested in. Businesses often discount fees or jump through hoops for companies that they want to do business with – we're no different. We don't discount for acquisition, but often we generously donate resources to companies who don't have any other options. Once they get on their feet, though, my hope is that they'll be thankful for the investment we made and they'll remain with us. Truth is, we don't see it very often. It seems loyalty is dead.
If a client is paying us well to get them results – and we don't – I wouldn't expect any loyalty from that client since we didn't hold up our end of the deal.
In all honesty, I think the political rallies in the last couple years are all about loyalty. I think most people gladly sink a more money into a rich person's pocket… but we expect they'll be loyal to us as consumers. Steve Jobs was a solid example of this. We excused the profit margins and off-shore production because we, the customers, were well taken care of.
Do you provide the same loyal to your partners and clients as you expect from your vendors and employees?