Special Treatment for Your Best Customers is a Two-Edged Sword

This WSJ article on how United Airlines treats their best customers is interesting in the sense that it gives us insight into a secret service that only a few are privileged to and how it can sour relations with those who don’t get the same treatment they once received. I’ve found that loyalty programs, if fairly administered where everyone knows the rules, can be a good way to increase customer loyalty. But when there are programs like this where customers are treated differently with some getting the special perks and others not, it can backfire and lead to lost customers. Anytime you give something away, you risk having to take it away too. It’s the latter that customers don’t like, especially when the rhyme and reason for taking it away leaves questions about fairness in the mind of the consumer.

Bill English, CEO