What price loyalty?

7 April 2011
News dropped into my inbox this week that delivery company DHL Express is to offer SMEs the chance to pick up Nectar points when they use its service. For every pound spent the cardholder will receive two points

. They are not the first company to offer this to customers. The Nectar Business loyalty scheme has been running since 2005 and suppliers of office products, commercial insurance, catering and vehicle rental are also involved. “Small businesses have lots of outgoings - from stationery and business insurance to transport and by collecting points with Nectar Business they can earn rewards on their everyday business expenditure to spend on themselves or their business,” said head of Nectar Business Louise Isaacs. If you are a small business, I’m sure this sounds great. Why not place your company business with these vendors to get a little bonus to help out with the weekly shop or filling up the car – especially in these tough financial times? But I wonder if this will create a conflict of interest for those less scrupulous business owners, who might be tempted to select the provider that offers a personal incentive rather than one that offers better value to the organisation. It brings to mind similar clashes I have heard where business travellers have rejected flights with the organisation’s preferred (and cheaper) carrier, because they wanted to earn personal frequent flyer miles with a different provider.
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