• Bill Leinweber

  • About Bill Leinweber

    Bill Leinweber's mission is to help businesses and organizations grow by combining efficient processes with great customer and employee experience.

    Bill is the Chief Experience Officer & Owner of Landmark Experience LLC, a consultancy, where he loves to help business leaders walk in their customers' shoes and devise memorable and meaningful experiences for both customers, guests, visitors, employees and business partners. After all, have you ever heard of customer loyalty and business growth without GREAT customer experience?

    Bill's 30 year career spans retail and office products distribution operations in both small, family-owned and global mega-businesses. He has managed customer service operations, sales support, customer on-boarding and business intelligence teams while also serving as an internal consultant and subject matter expert. Bill has helped his past employers improve their customer engagement processes and achieve their goals of customer experience excellence and loyalty.

    Bill loves to talk and speak about customer experience as well, so don't be afraid to ask!

    Bill Leinweber
    Landmark Experience

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What’s the Advantage of your rewards program?

Sorry for the long hiatus! Since October, I’ve been working on a completely awesome project in Austin, TX and have had little time to catch my breath.

So, American Airlines sends me an email offer to join their AAdvantage Dining Program so I can “Earn Miles” when I dine at my “Favorite Restaurants.” Apparently, they think they know which restaurants are my favorites. My interest was piqued for about 10 seconds so I clicked on the link to their website and entered my home zip code to see “my favorite restaurants.” The closest restaurant to my house is Maury’s Tiny Cove and it goes downhill from there! Don’t get me wrong. Maury’s Tiny Cove is a westside Cincinnati iconic institution, a delightful place full of “regulars” and where you get the distinct feeling that Frank Sinatra or Bobby Darin are going to walk out of the men’s room just as you walk in. Of course despite nearly 12 years in Cincinnati, on the westside you’re only allowed to be a “regular” if you’re born here, but I digress. My point is, I’d only eat at Maury’s once a year at best.

The next nearest restaurant in the radius search is Willie’s Sports Cafe and then The Crows Nest. Even if you’re not familiar with Cincinnati, I think you’re getting the picture. Since I’ve been working in Austin the past several months, I thought I’d try a zip code radius search from my hotel. Similar results. Beyond one random sushi bar and The Star of India, American Airlines idea of my favorite restaurants are a bunch of pizza joints and Tex Mex. Now, American is based in Dallas so I get the strong Tex Mex influence.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m far from being a food snob. Pick a restaurant and I’ll find something on the menu to eat. Put a plate of food in front of me and I’m likely to clean the plate, just as mom implored us to do growing up. (Although, after a recent trip to the ER, I’m making completely new choices in food selections these days! Ah, the glory of passing the half-century mark).

At the end of the day, given the selection of restaurants on the “Advantage” Dining Program, it would take me 10 years to earn only enough miles to taxi to the end of a runway! So American, what’s the advantage? And, where are “my favorites.” This got me thinking about rewards programs in general, most of which are useless for all but the globe trotters and big spenders.

I have to laugh when companies have any type of rewards program but their basic service is so sub par. Guess what? That ain’t gonna work. So what do you offer your customers in terms of rewards? How about the reward of really great service rolled into an emotionally rousing fantastic experience? The customer gets rewarded and so does your business. Don’t be lured into believing you need to launch a rewards program unless you commit to truly looking at it from the customer’s perspective.

Now, eat up.

One Response

  1. Great topic. I will intentionally avoid “rewards” and “allowances” (common with car dealers). I’m not a six year old for crying out loud!
    Another one is “customer loyalty points”. This isn’t a sporting event!!!! Save the points for the baseball game!!!! And if I go into a store one more time and they ask for my “rewards card”, my head is going to explode. Unfortunately, people these days like all these little “so-called” freebies,when in actuallity, they end up paying for them in the long run. Just give me a product at a fair price with good service. That’s all I ask.

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