Talk to me, please

So, I’ve been giving my previous post about Dominick’s some thought and was reminded of an example that was given in a class I took awhile back.

The example was about the clubcard program introduced by Tesco, a UK-based grocer. Here is a link to a related case study I found online for your reference.

Tesco introduced their clubcard program in the mid 90’s, which keeps their customers’ data for up to two years. The company has insights people who look for patterns and segment its users into over a hundred different buyer profiles. The cool thing is Tesco provides each of these users with personalized benefits that he or she values. For example, expectant mothers have special parking close to the store and a personal assistant to do the bending and lifting they shouldn’t. If I remember correctly, Tesco also tracks the frequency an item is purchased. So, if you buy paper towels once a month, they can hit you up with a coupon the week before your planned purchase.

In my Dominick’s example, I just wanted them to tell me when products I’ve actually previously purchased are on sale. Tesco customers get valuable coupons on products they already actually prefer.

The thought of receiving information or coupons that are targeted to me directly makes me schoolgirl giddy. From what I understand, US-based grocers have messy, messy databases, preventing them from being able to use the data they are collecting on each of us in a meaningful way for several years.

But some of my friends and family members do not agree. To them it is scary to share that kind of personal information and/or receive that level of personal attention.

I think, though, that the benefits outweigh the risk. Think of how much simpler shopping would be! You probably already get a taste of it when you call your local pizzeria . . . your phone number is tied to your record, so when they answer the phone they greet you by name. They have your last order in front of them, so they ask if you’d like the same as last time and can remind you of what that was in case you forgot. They might even have your credit card on file, if you’ve granted them that permission, which cuts a five- to six-minute call down to one minute! Can you imagine the extra time in your day if all your transactions were that clean and simple?

“Treat customers like they are special,” that’s what Gordon always says. Well, okay, maybe I’ve heard him say that a handful of times, but it is still an important point.Because if you don’t, someone else will.

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