Why you should never say, "And why is that?!?"

I was running around accomplishing a lot of little errands on Saturday. Because I, like a college student, still have to use quarters in order to get my clothing clean (grr), I stopped by the little bank inside my grocery store to buy a roll. The store was on the way to lots of other places I needed to go.

The teller I approached looked at me kind of like I was infringing on a super fun time. She started getting my roll of quarters and then asked me if I had an account with that particular bank. I said no, worried that I was going to be denied my laundry-saving coins.

“And why is THAT?!?” She asked.

I was a little taken aback, quite frankly. I kind of wanted to respond, “Well, because at my bank I’m not talked to like I’m an idiot.”

As it turns out, this bank was offering a really really smart promotion. If you sign up for an account with the bank and put $50 into your account, you get $75 of groceries free. Really I guess it ends up being $25, but still, $25 can at least get you a dozen eggs now, right? The promotion was clearly the idea of some smart marketing person. You’ve got people who are obviously coming to the store. If you’re talking to them, they have noticed that you are situated in the store, and it would be easy to convince customers that they could take care of banking and grocery shopping in one fell swoop.

Brilliant, right?

Sure. Assuming you don’t treat your customers like idiots.

Needless to say, even though as a marketer I appreciate the good idea, I did not sign up for the promotion.

In Social Media, we talk a lot about great ideas, but in the “real world” you have to execute those ideas, and a lot can get lost in the delivery. Even the best plan can be flushed down the toilet by a tonality or facial expression that is inappropriate for the situation.

When you are trying to bring customers into your network, whether online or offline, remember that we all want to feel like we are brilliant. It’s easy to tear people down. Customers will be loyal to you if you make it easy for them to feel smart. I would have felt pretty smart if I had looked into this bank, gotten some free groceries, and taken care of a lot more than I had planned on in that one single trip, right? Instead, I am writing this post about a woman who blew an opportunity to get a new customer.

Which scenario would you prefer?

Image by David Duncan. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/D-squared

9 comments
Cristian Gonzales
Cristian Gonzales

A great idea is nothing without great execution.

Good read Marjorie...as always. :)

Dawn Westerberg
Dawn Westerberg

Alternative Ending if you were a Soprano rather than a Clayman:

“And why is THAT?!?” She asked.

Glancing to the left and right, I slid the roll of quarters into a dirty sock...

Matt Shaw
Matt Shaw

Excellent observation, Marjorie. Similar thing happened to me recently, only mine used the phrase "Why on earth not?"

The pitfalls of being tethered to physical currency, I suppose. I relish the day I'm actually able to pay for soda with my cell phone.

OneJillian
OneJillian

this picture is so appropriate!

it's interesting you brought up the bank at a grocery store. i recently got the chilly treatment from a grocery bank employee, as well - and i wasn't even "browsing" her section! (i was at the starbucks across the aisle)

James Hallam
James Hallam

Nice post Marjorie. Not everyone gets it. They probably shouldn't be selling stuff if they don't. Well *trying* to sell stuff...

Marjorie Clayman
Marjorie Clayman

SERIOUSLY!! :) hahahaa *glances around nervously at thought of being found out*

Marjorie Clayman
Marjorie Clayman

Thanks Matt.

"Why on earth not" is always nice to hear too.

"Cuz you smell funny, that's why!" :)

Marjorie Clayman
Marjorie Clayman

I know, I love that picture. Heehee :)

Thanks for popping by, and sorry you had a similar experience! =/