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Time and Service are the Best Reward

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Time and Service are the Best Reward
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If you had to choose your last meal, what would it be? Steak and potatoes? Sushi? A burger and fries? Or would you make a run through as many of your favorite drive-thru’s as you could in the remaining time allotted?

If you had to choose one last reward from your favorite loyalty program, what would it be? Imagine that every point you’ve accumulated in all of the programs to which you belong are expiring NOW. Make a choice.

What would it be? I’ll bet that it would NOT be cash back deposited to your checking account, a gift card, or a $20 discount on the next purchase you made over $100 at your favorite brand. I’m guessing that a toaster wouldn’t be on the list either.

More than likely, airplane tickets for two to the most exotic destination still on your bucket list, a chance to hang out with Brad Pitt on his next Habitat for Humanity outing, or freestyle tips from Michael Phelps would bubble to the top. I’ll also bet that anything that bought you time or provided some form of outstanding service would register on your list as well. Maybe the reward of time could even qualify as the third wish to the genie by asking for “one more wish”.

When forced into desperate situations, I think the human spirit turns inventive, imaginative and seeks things that can be described as aspirational.

As business people, why do we build loyalty programs that trade on the mundane? When you think about the example above, it becomes quite clear that people – our customers – are seeking things that we often resist providing them in our loyalty programs.

The most elusive of these rewards are time and service.


I went to an Apple Store today for the appointment I made over the weekend at the Genius Bar. When I arrived, the store was teeming with people. Organized chaos was a good description and I was frustrated that despite my prearranged appointment, I had to stand in a line 10 deep to “check-in” with the host.

Comic relief provided an outlet for my frustration as the concierge system was “down” and only another store associate with a paper print-out (gasp) was able to keep the line moving and save the day.

Apple had made a withdrawal from my “time bank” at that point, but recovered nicely as the repair I had come to make to my machine was handled quickly and effortlessly. All I can say is that Apple Care is worth the price!


Anything to do with an aiport gives me pause these days. It is not fun to fly and anyone who does it often understands the hassles, the risks, and the indignities that go with the territory. My very cool Millennial niece came to my rescue by sending me a link to a new app Just Landed that can save time and headache in and around the airport.

A review of Just Landed found in Urban Daddy described the app as “sort of like an alarm clock meets a road map meets an air traffic controller tower meets your own private news chopper”. The app uses location based services and the GPS function on your smartphone to give you up to date info on flight arrivals and departures, traffic status and a host of other info that will save you time and anxiety navigating any airport.

That’s the type of time saver that is worth an experimental download to me. It also makes me wonder how Best Buy, Nordstrom, or even Target could create a similar app to reward customers with time and convenience.

Loyalty Truth

We hope that we never have to put a gun to our customer’s heads to discover what rewards they really want. More than cruel, it would be needless as they are already telling us loud and clear.

The question is, why do third parties come up with some of the best ideas and why don’t we as loyalty marketers build in the equivalent of Just Landed or similar inventive apps into our programs to reward best customers with perks that go beyond the ordinary?


Customer Experience

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