As a follow up to the last post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the grocery store that hosted the rusty mailbox also deserves a good finger wagging!
Offering a mail drop for customers is a great service. Good for them for doing so! However, since they see that rusty mailbox every day and I’m only in their store a few times a week, they should have been a little more proactive! They should have recognized that a rusty mailbox is a touch point for their brand! The store manager should have become outraged and jumped up and down as he called the USPS and told them to come refurbish or replace the yucky mailbox! “Don’t you know that a rusty mailbox implies dirty floors, produce that isn’t fresh, and old stock?” He should have said. “Don’t you know our customers deserve better?” He should have asked. “Don’t you know that both our brands are being jeopardized?” He should have demanded to know.
But I’m pretty sure that rusty mailbox means far less to the store manager than it does to me or the Postal Service. If you visited the store a few times, you’d probably agree. The store is part of a national chain whose name you would recognize. They do a great job of delivering low price goods, but they are currently getting my business only because they are the best choice from a bad set of choices. Currently, they are the winner by default, and that ain’t much of a value proposition to hang one’s hat on!
As often as is comfortably possible I drive at least 2 miles out of my way and pay higher prices at a lesser-known but far more service-driven CVS. I drive farther and pay extra because the nice lady who works the counter always welcomes me. If I meet an employee at CVS, I am greeted. If I appear to need help with something, typically someone offers to help me before I have to ask. They earn my business, and I don’t mind paying a little more.
Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “In weakness, find strength, and in strength, find weakness.” Yes, the other guys may be bigger, but we can be better! And often all being “better” amounts to is taking better care of the customer! And the reason we call it ECHO Marketing is because we keep saying, The Customer IS the Answer!!!