The Christmas Season and Customer Focus

As we step into a very, very busy time of year for a lot of people, we have a great opportunity to re-double our focus on customers. We get so distracted around the holidays, it is easy to look only to year-end numbers rather than taking care of customers. Also, our customers are so over-loaded, they often forget to follow up on little details.

I have a great story about a business that did something small for me, but it made a big difference in my mind.

I often shop at our local Rite Aid, a pharmacy whose tagline is “With us, it’s personal”. I never thought much about this tagline until I recently received an email from them.  I had purchased a few items recently which were eligible for rebates. Having done rebates with Rite Aid before, I was familiar with their nice and neat process where receipts can easily be processed online (thank you!).  This has always gone very smoothly for me.

Back to the story about the email I received from them. Here is the email in its entirety:

Dear Becky Carroll,

Thank you for shopping at Rite Aid and participating in the Single Check Rebates program. Our records indicate you have valid receipt(s) but forgot to request a rebate check prior to the expiration date of 11/24/2008.

As a courtesy to you for being a loyal Rite Aid member, we have requested your check for you.
You will receive your check within 2 to 3 weeks.

You are receiving this email as a result of your participation in the Rite Aid Single Check Rebates program.  Note: Please do not reply to this message.  Because this message has been automatically generated, your reply will not receive attention.

For questions about Rite Aid‘s Single Check Rebates program, please email us via the “Contact Us” page:  https://riteaid.rebateplus.com/helpall_contactuspage.asp

Thank you for using Rite Aid Single Check Rebates.

Rite Aid Corporation, 30 Hunter Lane, Camp Hill, PA 17011, 1-800-RITEAID

Wow! I hadn’t realized I had forgotten the deadline for this rebate. I was absolutely impressed with this email for several reasons.

– Rite Aid knew that I had missed the deadline and took care of it for me. :)

– The email addressed me by name so I knew that it was most likely not a mistake.

– Rite Aid acknowledged that I am a “loyal Rite Aid member”, something which makes shoppers feel good this time of year (or any time of year, for that matter!).

– All contact information was clearly laid out in the email.

Thank you, Rite Aid, for taking care of your customers at a time when some of us are too busy to do some of the “little things”. I would love to see more companies looking out for their customers this way. Come on, you all have the same information that Rite Aid has on your customers. What can you do to make life easier for them?

A suggestion for Rite Aid (we can always make things better, right?): Now that I know you can do this for me, why don’t you just take care of it for me every time so I never have to enter my receipts for rebates? This would be a great incentive for joining a loyalty program! Especially in this economy, where people are looking to save every dollar they can, it could really drive an increase in participation. You then have an opening to dialogue with your customers. What a great Christmas gift for customers and brands alike.

(Photo credit: trebuchet)

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9 Responses

  1. Becky, Good Morning
    It is always good to hear stories of chains trying to put a personal touch back into the transaction. As we all traverse these crazy economic times I believe that the companies that continue to add value and can create relationships, all the while zagging while others are zigging will remain strong and emerge much stronger.

    The point with relationship piece is likely the most challenging, however, imagine the impact had the cashier also told you about the rebate issue the next time you were there, addressed you by name,told you what they told you in the e mail and thanked you for being a customer.

    I get the difficulty, but it wasn’t so long ago that the the pharmacist at the local drug store actually knew your name and every one in our family.

  2. Becky Carroll

    Brandon, I agree! Great customer service, and not difficult to do. That is also a recipe for success in these economic times!

  3. Becky Carroll

    Eric, thanks for your comment. I always try to tell positive stories here at Customers Rock!, because someone has to keep carrying the torch for good experiences. As you and I both stated, there is always room for improvement; I like your outlook on it. As the world gets bigger, it seems like we still want it to feel small and personal.

    Rock on, Eric! You and Urbane Apartments are a great example of customer focus. :)

  4. Kubra

    Hi Becky! What a nice post! You really always try to tell positive stories in here. That’s the main reason I like reading your blog. Thanks for writing and keeping me (and us) updated about good examples.

  5. Becky –

    Love that story. Thank you for taking the time to articulate such a great point.

    Personalization with a dose of emotion makes for remarkable and memorable moments that get talked about.

  6. I.m pleased to see that Rite Aid has such great customer service. However I need help. I mispelled my name when registering and now i cant edit or correct it or change it or open a new account because the system knows my email. I dont haave or want another email address. can you help please i have receipts i want to claim. thanks susan