It’s lovely being recognized a loyal customer, isn’t it? It makes you feel like someone’s noticed after all these years. You have kept coming back and, maybe you should get something in return. Acknowledgement. Something rare or unavailable to the less loyal. A freebie, even?
Freebies are lovely.
And don’t worry, I know it’s not actually free. I know that you’ve made enough profit out of me and my loyalty over the years that this acknowledgement and gesture will only make a tiny dent in the balance sheet. But don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. It’ll be our secret.
So imagine my joy and surprise when one of our longstanding suppliers at home took the trouble to write to me with exactly such an acknowledgement. After all these years, some sign they know and value me. Hmmm …
I won’t name names. Let’s just say they’re involved in providing entertainment within the home. Visual entertainment. Possibly of a televised nature. Let’s get a few things clear right now. I have an online account. I had to enter details. New details – which I presume were stored somewhere (otherwise why ask?). There is a telephone line and wifi dongle-thing plugged into the service – so I presume it communicates with something outside our house. I also use an app. For which I had to enter more details. I download stuff. I record stuff. I can even buy extra stuff if I want. I’d have assumed that a history is kept of all this.
In short. They know who I am. Where I live. We’re connected online, so they know what I search for and watch and – perhaps more to the point – what I don’t search for or watch.
This assumption might be my mistake, in fairness.
Because by the look of the loyalty acknowledgement I received, I suspect one of two things apply:
- No such history exists, so they can’t tailor a reward or offer to me, or …
- The history exists, but they don’t give a stuff.
Let’s agree – in 2016, neither of these are great.
Time for a confession: I am one of about 8 men living in the UK who could not give a fig about watching sport. I enjoy playing it, but that’s as far as I go. There is a part of my brain that doesn’t get what so many of the rest of you simply take for granted – that watching sport is a vital and essential part of life. To me, it just isn’t. I know this makes me rare. Weird, even. And I’m fine with that. I’m not saying anyone is right or wrong – simply that I feel differently. If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other.
But perhaps the rarity of my ‘condition’ is working against me? Regardless, I hope you can imagine how little appeal a discounted sports package would hold for me. An invitation to spend money on something I won’t like?
Call me unreasonable, but I’d have hoped someone – or maybe even an algorithm – would have looked at my account and concluded, “You know, he’s never even watched sport. Never enquired about it, never recorded it or given us any indication he’d like to. What else can we do to show we value his custom?” Instead, I think no matter what the process or logic, the result for me was that someone may as well have said, “He doesn’t care about sport, but we want to get our numbers up. So that’ll do. Sport.”
Two more words.
It’s a bit confusing. From a range of other vendors I can get playlists, books, music and videos, household goods and even food recommended to me. Often, quite sensible, personalized recommendations. Some of these companies offer this service for free (apparently), knowing that only by tailoring their offering can they give me an experience that means I’ll return and spend more. They watch or ask me what I like – radical, but they bother to pay attention – they listen, compute and then successfully engage me further. And guess what? I hemorrhage money into their coffers. I love them. Amazon. Apple. Tesco. I could go on.
If only my TV provider could learn from this.
So thanks giant, nameless, faceless, megalith of an entertainment company. Thanks for taking so little interest in me and the data I’ve shared with you. Thanks for taking my money and using none of it to get to know me better and make yourselves invaluable. Indispensable. Incandescently attractive to me!
But most of all, thanks for wrapping up a blatant sales promotion as a loyalty reward and not expecting me to notice or care.
I can feel the love.