Amanda Cromhout 13 min

Blind Loyalty Challenge with Andrew Shelton


Hear Andrew Shelton's takes on travel loyalty, tiering challenges in loyalty, and creating stickiness with your most loyal.



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Hi there, I'm Amanda Cromhoe from Truth. Welcome to the Blind Laugherty

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Challenge.

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We interview world experts in loyalty blindly. We're hoping to create insight,

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spontaneity

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and a lot of fun through the challenge. The challenge is about promoting the

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Blind Laugherty

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Trust and my book called Blind Laugherty, a hundred and one loyalty concept

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radically

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simplified. All profits from the book go towards the trust. We hope you enjoy

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the Blind

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Laugherty Challenge.

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So here we are with another Blind Laugherty Challenge and on the other side of

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the screen

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is an extremely good friend of mine. We go back goodness Andrew 30 years I

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think. So we

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have Andrew Shelton. We worked together at British Airways for many years, some

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of the

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happiest days of my career. And he is now the founder of Lama, which is a

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travel marketing

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consultancy business and Tramp, which is a travel marketing network of

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professionals.

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So Andrew, you were tagged by Rob McDonald from IAG loyalty. So we're in very

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esteemed

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loyalty presence. Welcome to the Blind Laugherty Challenge.

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Thank you, Amanda. Thank you, Rob.

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Yeah, I don't know if you want to be saying thank you to Rob or something else,

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but hey,

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yeah. All right. So here we go off on the road to close to ride. The questions,

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I don't

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know the questions. No, I will have it.

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I'm very well informed. I'm very well informed. I've got one of the original,

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the original

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Blind Laugherty books. So I've been flipping off of that.

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You read it back to back, you said last night, just to make sure. Okay, Andrew,

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given you

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are such an expert in loyalty, I know you spent pretty much 99.9% of your

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career in travel

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and therefore touch loyalty along the way. I'm going to focus on travel. So a

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couple

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of chapters in Blind Laugherty focus on travel, whether it's hotels, any of the

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booking engines

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or FFPs. But what would you say is your favourite travel loyalty programme?

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So a great question. I'll be thinking about that because I thought I might have

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one of

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my questions. So there's two. The first, I think, is the other two reasons

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actually.

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The first, I think it's probably booking.com in terms of what they've done with

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genius.

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I think the reason I like it is not necessarily, and I use it a lot, it's not

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necessarily because

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of pricing or any of that. It's actually for the user experience and the ease.

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And they

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created something that is, they've given me genius level three and apparently

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all of

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these benefits are funded by the suppliers. So the P&L probably doesn't look

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too, doesn't

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have had the P&L massively, but they make me feel like I'm the top tier, but it

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's created

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around an amazing experience. Everything's available, everything's on hand. And

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if I have

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a problem, I can get it fixed. So they are probably my number one and I use

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them a lot

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and I don't shop around. And as a result, I don't. Because I just think

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actually, I'm

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just going to have to booking, it's on my app, and they're kind of sown that

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bit up for

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me. The second one is probably the exact club. And the exact club is, I think

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it's because

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of what it's giving me, which is flights. And I think it's the, I can find a

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way of moving,

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managing my spend and getting points at the end of it. And that gives me a good

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experience

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at the end of it. I think the exact club has got a lot better. I think there's

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more opportunity

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with it now. I think they've been much more flexible. I think they're still

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quite complicated,

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but still, do you know what? I've got two different credit cards, both are in

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the B.A.

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and I have your points. And I'm kind of pretty engaged in the whole program.

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The reality

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is, we only have so much money we can spend. So you've got to stick with one of

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them. So

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I end up going, you know what? I could go to lots of different frequent flyer

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programs,

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but I don't spend that much money. So I need to get the points to get the

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points to get

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some of my trip. I don't like to fly to the back of the plane.

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That Andrew, we know. Brilliant. Thank you. I'm a member of both of them. I'm

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sure Rob

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McDonald, he's delighted with your second choice there. So, okay. I think they

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've done

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a great job. Yeah, awesome. Good. Well, make sure Rob listens to this as well.

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So chapter

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59, actually you've mentioned on both of those programs, the tiers, the travel

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alt is very

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dominated by tiering. And we talk, we talk a lot about it in the Blind Lorty

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book on chapter

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59. What would you say is one of the biggest problems with tiering in loyalty

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programs?

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The disappointment of not getting there. And, you know, yeah, it is, you know,

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I think if you

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are not quite at the top, you feel like, oh, well, I'm missing out. I think I

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do feel a bit like

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some of the hurdles sometimes to get into the top tier,

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mean if your lifestyle changes. So, for example, in airlines, if your lifestyle

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changes and you

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stop flying for corporate reasons, you've pretty much lost your tiering unless

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you're very wealthy.

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So you kind of, and that's not necessarily because you don't want to be part of

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the program. You do,

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you just fall out of it. And that kind of happens, it's happened in BA, it

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happens in quite a lot of

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frequent flyers if you stop flying. Which kind of leaves you with a bit of a

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sour taste.

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And it'd be interesting to see, as I'm gradually falling out of town that's

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here,

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as I'm not doing so much corporate flying, it would be interesting if I diseng

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aged with that

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program, because actually I go, actually, the benefits are going. And if things

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like lounge,

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which was kind of a big one, I can buy lounge access at most airports and how

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so, you know,

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he's the benefit of being a member of a roading. And so, that's probably the

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main one for me.

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Yeah, absolutely right. And the key is how do you create that stickiness as

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people change,

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you're absolutely right, as people move certainly out of corporate into

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independent

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roles or stop working entirely. If you've worked your entire life as a

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corporate and

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reached the top tier, and then you retire, it's a bit of a tragedy to go t

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umbling down the tiers.

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I think there's clever things you do around, you can pull tier points, which I

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guess

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pull points, but it doesn't solve the tier issue. It solves the points issue.

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Maybe thinking about pulling tier points that allows people to remain in the

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category,

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so you're still, if it's within a family account or something like that,

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that may be an idea that's worth considering.

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There are, for example, American Airlines now, if you are using their co-

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branded card or using their

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partner network of merchants, though that activity counts towards your tiering,

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which keeps you active in their programme, which is great. So, there are ways

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around it,

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and some of the airlines are doing it. So, yeah, I mean, I'm still very loyal,

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but as I say,

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it depends on, as you fall down the tiers, do you lose? And then, it's

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interesting what

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some airlines do with tier point matching as well to try and get you across. I

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think,

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you know, there seems to be some battles being on the UK to try and get people

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who are at a certain stage, they'll offer them a status match to come across.

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So, that's kind of like it's like trying to hijack in your most valuable

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customers and getting them

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over. So, an interesting tactic, not one that I've never been approached by,

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but who's going on?

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Yeah, absolutely. And there's a whole organisation status match company that

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does it. So, it obviously

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makes sense somewhere along the line without question. Okay, my last question,

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what is your own

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personal worst loyalty experience?

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I'm going to tell you about my best and my worst, about the right.

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Yeah. Please, yeah.

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My best one is in your book, actually. It's got a different name as a course on

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the discovery of our policy. Yeah. I think it's an incredible programme in

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terms of,

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you know, what it's trying to do is got you as the consumer, so at the heart of

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it.

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And the benefit you get from it and the way in which it's kind of gamified, the

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way that everything

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kind of links together between your Fitbit and your Vitality account and your

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tiering,

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you know, the things you get off in terms of free coffee, you get free business

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off the gym.

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I think it is by far the best loyalty sort of programme I've been involved in.

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I'm totally

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hooked to it every week. I look at how many points I've got.

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Checking your dial. And I've gone and I've gone out and silver.

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It's, yeah. I've got a free coffee this week. And also, I think from a B2B

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perspective, you know,

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as a corporate benefit from a B2B, because we get it through the company, you

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know, it's hugely

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motivating to be able to offer employee something like that, which is actually

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looking after the

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long-term health as well as ensuring them. Yeah, exactly. So I think that is my

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number one.

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My people are coming from my worst loyalty experiences. And it has, I think,

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been resolved

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somewhere. It has been, was horrendously frustrating, was Sainsbury's actually.

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Because they had a sort of, they have a programme called Nectar and they have

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everything on an app,

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but they send you vouchers and they send you coupons, which you have to have

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with you to redeem,

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redeem. I think might have changed. But basically what it meant was that there

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was a complete

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disconnect between the tech side of it. And then it was obviously a different,

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a different part of the business printing out money off coupons, saving coupons

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The result of that, you know, you'd get into the store and you wouldn't have

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your coupon with you,

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which is like 20, so that's to make 10 quid off a 7-degree shop. You didn't

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have it. That was it.

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You were stuck, yeah. Yeah. I mean, you could go back and get it later. But it

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was just an example

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for me of where the left hand and the right hand were not talking to each other

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. And I

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just, and they were constantly frustrating me when they would send me the stuff

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in the post and go,

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"I've got a card. Why are you giving me this on a piece of paper?" And, you

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know,

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I haven't been dissuaded from them. I would, you see some of the behaviours

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flow through with Sainsbury's

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business. If you stop shopping there for a few weeks, yeah, you get vouchers

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and you get a voucher

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come through because I see you switch to offer. You get one coming through. So

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that was a good

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side of it. But that was frustrating. I have to say, I don't join many loyalty

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programs because I

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realise I'm better just to be with a few. Yeah. Because I kind of get loyalty

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fatigue. So like,

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grocery, maybe two, airline one, you know, healthcare one. So this is a handful

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But otherwise it becomes too many apps. Totally. That's the best way. Pick your

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lane and stick to

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it and get the deepest benefit. So that's what we always advise. But if you're

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actually just

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shopping around entirely, you've got a leapwarm experience on all of them. But

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fantastic. Okay.

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So the Vitality team here will be delighted to hear what you've had today.

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This is genius. Whoever's coming up with that. I'd love to see the business

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case because I keep,

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I keep, I keep, I keep, I keep, I keep paying for the Virgin X if part of my

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membership. But

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quite wobbly. But it's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's good. We've done a number

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of interviews with

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Vitality here and they explain the, the health impact, the positive health

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impact, which you

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can imagine the financial knock on to your health claims. So, you know,

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principally that will

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explain the business case, but it would be great to scratch under the bonnet.

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But

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wonderful. Again, Andrew, you're a superstar. You've cleared all three, cleared

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all three hurdles.

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So who can I interview next based on you tagging someone?

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So I don't know, no, I don't know. I'm going to actually nominate someone who

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again,

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I've worked with many, many years who I've worked with in businesses and has

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also

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worked with me as part of the Loma team. And she's got a lot of lot of

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experience. And I would like to

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nominate Lisa Edwards as well. So, obviously, Lisa, you're next.

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Thanks, Lisa. We don't know each other.

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Next in the queue.

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We don't know each other. Lisa, but I look forward to it. So, Andrew, thank you

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so much.

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Great to catch you again. Thank you.

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