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A Little Bit About Loyalty

In meetings and interviews, the subject of loyalty will invariably come up. Usually, someone has been reading an exciting article, littered with wild claims about an app increasing repeat visit by a zillion %, or loyal customers who will walk miles just for the chance of getting another 20p added to their points card, (interesting how those articles are always co-written or sponsored by a peddler of such apparent magic).

Other leaders are so keen on finding the holy grail, they’ll throw big piles of hard cash at the subject, in return for a system that quickly gets them such coveted ‘loyalty’ via the medium of offers (aka bribes).

But like popping round for ‘Netflix and Chill’, with a pizza under one arm and a bottle of Blossom Hill in the other every now and then doesn’t often lead to marriage, the odd 30% off doesn’t lead to long term brand love either.

Which brings to me the crux of what does, and I experienced it first hand the other weekend.

Walking through the leafy lanes of South East London with my other half, we happened across a pub. Not a smart one, with fancy wine and organic plates, but a slightly tired boozer, with not a witty chalkboard in sight.

Being half northern, half pool shark, we popped in for a quick half.

It all seemed ok. Rugby on the screen, proper landlady on the pumps. Every missing husband in SE22 propped up at the bar. Nothing special. In fact, we were already draining our glasses to leave. But then something special happened.

The landlady came over, and with a friendly smile, put down a plate of sandwiches in front of us. “We always give out a bit of food on a Sunday lunch” she explained.

And that small act of kindness, of welcome, of generosity, moved us both. And to cut a long story short, we were there so long that day (spending cash and chatting to the bar staff and regulars) we nearly missed the start of Downton.

Not only will we be going back, we’ve already told a load of local mates, and suddenly a frazzled old boozer is on our social radar.

No soulless discount, no card to swipe a thousand times to earn a treat, genuine, warm hospitality was all it took.

It wouldn’t be right not to mention the lovely landlady in question, so to Sandra, at the Man of Kent near Nunhead, we’ll see you Sunday!

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