It's About Time!

Mark Mayberry

To me, one of the most frustrating things is when the Post Office raises its rates. I know their costs go up, but what a headache to have to use my old stamps up – adding 2 cents or so to all my leftover stamps. USPS recently tried to raise the 44 cent per one-ounce rate, and their request was refused. To help get their next rate increase request approved (We all know that one is coming. After all, gas may go to $5 zillion a gallon), the Post Office has finally done something they should have done a long time ago – made every stamp a “Forever” stamp! Now, you get their best designs – and they will be worth first class postage forever!

Here’s another shocking change – Delta’s frequent flyer miles won’t expire! I fly enough that this doesn’t matter for my personal account, but for people like my son, Scott, and for his wife, Sarah, this is terrific. One Delta official said that the expiring miles really upset many Customers. No kidding?!! Rumor has it that Delta used to have this policy, then changed it, so I’m holding my breath, hoping they don’t go backwards again.

Now to the negative – BP recently ran a “Loyalty Card” promotion. If you purchased 5 fill-ups (8 gallon minimum purchase each time), they would send you a $10 BP Reward Card. Shazzam! Or so I thought…

Two things happened to turn this “Shazzam” into a “Nega-zam.” First, I had to go on-line to fill in a code each time I purchased BP gas. Fine, I’ll go along with that. But when I filled in my first 5 codes, their website told me – “Congratulations – you’ll have your $10 BP Reward Card in 4-6 weeks.” What? It’s all in their computer and it takes 4-6 weeks for them to process the Reward Card? The second thing is even worse – BP stations around Rockford started to run out of the cards 30 days before the promotion ended. The first time it happened to me, I had a very unsympathetic sales clerk behind the counter, and I made up my mind to never use that convenience store again. I know this was not the clerk’s fault – but his lack of empathy completely turned me away forever!

Another Nega-Zam: I went to my local Hallmark store to buy some Valentine wrapping paper. I was just going to buy one roll, but the sign said that one roll was $3.99, and that I could buy 2 rolls for $5.99. So, I grabbed a second roll and went to the check-out counter. When the clerk ran up the sale, it came to more than $8.00. I asked the clerk, “How can this be?” She looked at me with a blank stare, then took about 5 minutes (of my time) to discover that their checkout terminal was not programmed correctly. Don’t you wonder how many times this happens at this and other stores? She made the change, but never did apologize for the mistake. Shame on her – and shame on the owner of the store.

The Shazzam Challenge

BP's promotion was meant to make their Customers more loyal - and instead, they turned me off - and away from at least one BP location. The Hallmark store was either lazy, incompetent, or deceitful. All 3 turn me off. How do your Customers view your promotions?

Mark Mayberry is president of the Mayberry Group and author of Building the Dream Workforce.
Copyright 2011, author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

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