We’ve all come across customer loyalty schemes in shops. You get a stamp or some record per visit or transaction, which entitles you to money off/ or a free something-or-other. I used to like them. What could possibly go wrong? Imagine this. You own a shop. Your loyal customer, over about a decade accrues £30 loyalty vouchers. Yes, OK, this is all about me. I had accrued £30 of loyalty vouchers. What happened next is astonishing. These vouchers had an expiry date of December 2014, 6 months after they were issued. With one thing and another, Christmas, trips away, exams, life… we forgot about them, until mid January. So I called the shop. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “So sorry, I’ve got these vouchers, expired 23 days ago…[chat chat about reasons why]….. It’ll be ok to use them won’t it?”
Shop owner: “No. Sorry. I’m a small business. You wouldn’t go back to M&S would you to extend an expiry date.”
Me: “But you’re not M&S, which is the whole reason why I’ve been supporting your shop for years. It is totally your decision.”
I thanked her and hung up. And then I thought – wow, that’s really poor customer services. I’ll call her back. Which I did, and pretty much got the same response. She felt bad and I did too. So now there is a crazy situation. The shop I’ve been to for years (to which I would always have gone, even without a loyalty scheme) has lost a customer. I’d feel embarrassed to go in now, and I don’t like their inflexible attitude. But they probably didn’t really know who I was anyway, because retailers don’t ask your name. If you DO have a customer loyalty voucher, here are my recommendations:
And me? I’ll be looking for a new shop to be loyal to instead.