leadership dot #2486: packaged

Each year 650,000 people in the United States receive some form of chemotherapy — drugs that can have negative effects on cancer cells but also on the person receiving the treatment. To serve this large population, Walgreens has created a set of services that provide pharmaceutical assistance, beauty consultation and online resources to help patients address some of the side effects of chemotherapy.

Under the umbrella of “Feel More Like You”, Walgreens has recognized that a large market exists of people who have changing skin, hair, prescription and sunlight sensitivity needs because of their treatment. By coordinating services that fit well in their normal business operations, Walgreens can gain customers and goodwill through one initiative.

While Walgreens added a website and did some training of personnel, the vast majority of what “Feel More Like You” provides already existed but as independent pieces instead of a cohesive program. Tying disparate parts together increased the impact significantly and made something generic into a unique whole.

What does your organization provide that could be presented in a more unified way?  ]





leadership dot #2473: full service

I’ve been at Cell Phone Lots at several different airports and most of them are nothing but asphalt in a remote area of the terminal complex. Not in Austin, TX.

Someone there had the brilliant idea to treat the Cell Phone Lot like a rest stop – complete with a gas station, convenience store, fast food, public restrooms and picnic tables. They even have a large screen that displays flight information in case you need it.

The lot is still in a remote area so only services people who have some connection to the airport, but that includes those who are waiting to pick up passengers, airport employees and rental car returns – it was buzzing.

How can you reimagine a service that you provide and expand it to truly serve?

leadership dot #2472: chicken and egg

One of our grocery stores has recently added a bank of eight electric car charging stations to its parking lot. According to a 2018 government report, there are only 800 battery electric vehicles and an additional 1900 plug-in hybrids in the entire state – making the decision to dedicate eight prime parking spaces to this purpose seem to be a bit excessive at the moment.

I think that charging stations and electric cars suffer from some of the chicken and egg dilemma – which comes first? People are hesitant to buy electric cars if there are no places to charge them yet incurring the expense and forfeiture of space seems premature if no one is using them.

This same store has recently posted signs everywhere that “park and ride” cars will be towed. If their lot is reaching capacity to the extent that they tow vehicles, it surprises me even more that they took a row off-line for a low-use purpose – aggravating many current customers in the process.

One of the challenges of leadership is to determine a balance between addressing the needs of the present and preparing for the needs of the future. Don’t become so focused on the customers you hope to have that you forget about those you actually have today.






leadership dot #2462: sorry

There is a moment that encourages people, especially women, to say “I’m sorry” less frequently. Some feel that females apologize for things that do not warrant a mea culpa when the same sentiment can be achieved with a “thank you” instead.

For example: “I’m sorry I’m late” can be replaced with “Thank you for waiting on me” or “I’m sorry to ask you for a favor” to “Thank you for helping me out.”

There may or may not be merit to this line of thinking but what I do know is that “I’m sorry” still has its place – specifically in the customer service realm. I recently was overcharged – again – at Sam’s and while the manager gave me a robust explanation for how the error occurred, he never apologized, either with an “I’m sorry” or even a “thank you”.

And when American canceled yet another of my flights, the customer service rep was so unhelpful that I spoke with her manager and he, too, failed to give any type of apology for requiring a mad dash to the airport a day before my originally scheduled flight as the only option to make it to my destination before my gig.

It is one thing to apologize unnecessarily but it is far more egregious not to apologize at all when warranted. Don’t be sorry that you neglected to express regret when you fail to serve.


leadership dot #2445: good morning

According to Walgreens, more people forget to take their daily medication as prescribed than read People magazine! That is a staggering statistic – and a problem that they are taking steps to address.

Walgreens now offers a JoinRx program where you can sign up to receive a daily reminder by text. It’s another way that the company is leading the way with the application of technology toward its goal of being convenient.

Think of the products or services your organization provides – is there a gap in how customers use it that you could fill with a new tech application? Walgreens’ ad proclaims “America’s wake up call” –and it doesn’t just apply to subscribers. JoinRx should be a wake up call to other organizations, too. Walgreens has just increased expectations everywhere for others to go another step further in providing service.

“Good morning – this is your pharmacy calling!”

To subscribe: Text JoinRx to 21525

leadership dot #2430: positive spin

Many companies offer surveys at the end of a transaction as a way to gather feedback, and often offer the customer a chance to enter into a sweepstakes as an incentive to participate. The SurveyMonkey Contribute app has added their own twist to this and allows clients to spin a wheel and instantly learn whether or not they have won a prize.

As with most contests, the majority of spins don’t yield a win, but SurveyMonkey Contribute has found a way to make the experience fun in spite of that. The wheel features pictures of fruit and each corresponds to a clever way of saying “you lost”. Examples include: “Cherries are the Pits” and “Goodness Grapes”. (I believe the winners can “Go Bananas” – but I have not personally experienced it!)

How can you take an ordinary survey – or form or registration — and put a positive spin on it? Even those who don’t win will leave with a smile.

leadership dot #2424: pinky swear

I had trouble ordering something on Tom’s website and so I sent an email to customer service to resolve the issue. “We’re closed now,” it said. “But we’ll get back to you soon – pinky swear.”

I thought it was a clever way to sign their message but apparently, their “pinky swear” meant about as much as it did in grade school — as I never received a reply.

Consumers can handle almost anything you throw at them – delays, price increases, being closed – but people don’t do well with unkept promises.

Forget the cuteness and just align your messaging and expectations with reality. A promise made should be a promise kept, no pinky required.