If there is one thing I’ve learned from living in various states, it’s that each area has their own “local grocery store”. For instance, my home town in Arkansas had a placed called Jades, my college town had a store called Brookshires, and my home town in Kansas has a grocery store called Hen House. In Lacey, WA there isn’t a “local grocery store”, or if there is I haven’t found it yet, but instead I shop at Fred Meyers. Fred Meyers isn’t exactly a small store; it’s pretty big and has a lot more than just groceries. But regardless of size, all of these stores had some type of “rewards/discount program” that allowed customers to sign up for a free account in order to acquire points or be eligible for discounts. And out of all of these reward programs, Fred Meyers leaves somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth.
Now it doesn’t have anything to do with the rewards or with how the points are allocated. But rather with what happens when you use it and when you don’t use it. When you use the rewards card at the self-checkout, the machine announces, “Welcome valued customer!” When you don’t use the card at the self-checkout, the machine doesn’t say anything. As if to say, you aren’t valued as a customer if you don’t use their reward card. I know it seems silly, but I’ve been reading a lot lately about businesses providing good user experiences. I guess you could argue, “So what? It’s just a stupid program.” Well, allow me to play a quick “What if?”
What if instead of a machine saying, “Welcome valued customer!” it were the actual cashier. That way some people would be told by another person, “Our company values you” and others wouldn’t. Still seem trivial? Perhaps, but I feel the little things like that can make a big impact on a person’s experience at a store. So with that in mind, here is what I think Fred Meyers should do or what I would do given the chance to switch things up a bit.
First of all if they have to have an auditory prompt notify the customer the card has been activated; they should go the route of Hen House. When a Hen House card is swiped the machine says, “Hen House account activated!!!” (Yes when I hear that audio I visually see three exclamation points). This way Fred Meyers is simply letting the customer and other know, the rewards card is working.
Another thing they could do is when a customer begins the checkout process the machine could say, “Welcome valued customer” this way EVERYONE is greeted the same way. In addition to this the above paragraph could be used in correlation with this solution.
Now, I’ll leave it up to whoever reads this. Do things like the audio prompts Fred Meyers is using matter or does it not make a bit of difference?