The other day I went to the supermarket to pick up a few food items (how many blog posts have I written lately which involve food?). I found a product which I liked the look of and saw that it had been reduced from $8.00 to about $5.00.  As a result I decided to take two while taking advantage of the offer.

I went to the counter to pay for the goods expecting a total of $10.00.  However, the cashier said that it came to $16.00.  I questioned this and pointed out that there was a "Red-label" special and they were $5.00 each.  He response was "I'm sorry, but that special price is only available to our loyalty card holders".

I didn't want to cause a scene so I thought that maybe I had missed reading the label correctly.  However, one of my first instincts was to go and blog about this company and how it treats its customers.  This particular New Zealand supermarket chain has done this for a number of years and I have wondered about it for some time.

What this store has forgotten about, is that a lot of loyal customers do not hold a customer loyalty card for a variety of reasons.  However, they may still be loyal customers and they should not be disadvantaged because they don't opt into a loyalty program.  To make things worse, we do have a loyalty card for this supermarket chain in our household, I just didn't have it with me at the time.

I don't think that they understand who I am.  I am Social.  Today's foolish decisions and lack of loyalty towards the customer (reverse loyalty) can have far greater consequences.  Within moments an unsatisfied customer can send out a tweet, update a Facebook status and more, which can quickly turn viral and become a significant problem for a brand.

I have said it before, opting out of Social Media is not an option.  The moment your brand is mentioned, somebody has opted your brand into something that you might not even be monitoring.  You need to have systems in place to effectively manage social media.

The other point that needs to be raised is, who does your business solicit feedback from customers?  Do you have social components built into your website?  Do you own the platform?  Do you own the conversation?   I will discuss these questions in my next post.