Sunday, August 05, 2007

Loyalty

I'm finding myself feeling frustrated with the way Blogger has changed.

They took away my color palate. They took away my ability to click on topics in the interest list in my profile to find like minded others.

Both of these things annoy me to no end.

But is it time to make the switch to TypePad? I'm not sure.

I do not consider myself a "loyal" blogger user. I use this because it's where I got started with blogging a year and a half ago and I know my way around the navigation tools, so it is easy for me. If at any time in the future I find that some other blog tool appears to offer more advantages, I will definitely jump ship.

I see no advantage whatsoever in sticking with Blogger out of "loyalty". I use it so long as it meets my needs, period.

That got me thinking, however, to what things DO merit a dose of loyalty, and how far that kind of commitment should evoke my continued support.

In his book, The Loyalty Effect Fred Reicheld defines loyalty as "the willingness to make an investment or personal sacrifice to strengthen a relationship."

This would imply that there is no loyalty required or expressed any time I continue an association with a person, product, organization or group that is completely meeting my needs. Loyalty only truly comes into play when I continue to support a team that is losing, when I stand by a friend who is going through hard times, when I stick with a job even though I have another one offered to me, or in some other way maintain a relationship when there are both reasons and opportunity to leave.

At what point is loyalty an honorable trait and when does it become just plain stupid?

How long does it make sense to remain friends with someone who continually annoys or embarrasses you, simply because you've known that person for over ten years?

Is it positive or foolhardy to stick to a job out of "loyalty" when another company calls to make a better offer?

Would I continue to patronize a restaurant out of loyalty if the food was bad and the prices were high? I doubt it.

My husband is a person who highly values good service. If a store, restaurant or most any type of service provider treats him well he will go back time and time again even if they are out of the way or charge more than their competition. He views this as becoming a "loyal" customer. I don't. I see it as him continuing to choose to do business with folks who meet his needs. He just happens to value friendly and efficient service over price or location. IF those businesses started ignoring him or being surly I suspect my beloved would drop them like a hot potato.

The term "fair weather friend" is generally perceived as a derisive label. We look unfavorably upon those who will only follow their own self interest. Yet the flip side of that is we often lose respect for someone who allows themselves to be repeatedly taken advantage of or treated badly and does nothing about it. Those guys seem spineless.

So where does loyalty come into the equations? When the going gets rough in a relationship - be it friends, business, or whatever - where does it make sense to hold on and where does it make sense to cut your losses and let go?

1 comment:

Ruth D~ said...

Interesting questions. I've been having similar ponderings lately.

Sometimes when loyalty begins to wane, there is an awkward span of time. To let go of a relationship of any kind that has been important is not done lightly. And to be loyal when no loyalty is necessary, as in the case of patronizing a restaurant . . . that's nice, but confining.

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