Free Suckers

So, the other day I took the girls to the store to pick up a few groceries. I carried the little one while the older got to push one of the special kids’ carts. These are just a miniature version of the adult carts. As my proud daughter pushes her cart past the checkout lines while we enter the store, she suddenly stops and randomly exclaims: “Daddy! you forgot to brush my teeth this morning!”

And, yes, in fact I did forget to brush her teeth that morning. But we forged ahead and got our groceries anyway. At checkout, with her little cart full, we head for the self-checkout, despite some youngster protest. I didn’t figure out why until we were about to leave when I was reminded that she didn’t get a sucker. You see, they only have suckers at the cashier manned checkouts.

Rewards are a powerful motivator for kids and free motivation tools for parents is a powerful marketing technique. If our kids do not behave while we are shopping they don’t get a sucker. We do a lot of shopping at this particular store partially because they have the checkout suckers and if the kids are good, we have an overall positive experience shopping there making us wanting to return.

In some companies, the free suckers are the first thing to go when times get tough. Then they wonder why their bottom line isn’t improving from their sophisticated sucker cost reduction measure. Customer service and emphasis on the customer experience seems to be a lost art at almost everywhere. I know this isn’t news to anyone, but I was just thinking about this when I read this article over on The Consumerist. The saddest thing is that CSR have absolutely no motivation to make the customer experience even remotely enjoyable. This also ties into another awesome audio book I’ve been listening to: Good to Great by Jim Collins. This is a great book, especially for those that really like to have the proof behind the theory. If you have a business or work for a business or do business with a business, you should read this book.

After checking out and driving away, in the car eating her sucker, my daughter was somehow much less concerned that her teeth had not been brushed that morning.

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2 Responses to Free Suckers

  1. The Sven says:

    Good to Great was a very good book. A missionary in our family is also applying G2G to their non-profit in Spain. We’ve had some good talks about it.

    My boys get suckers when we go to the Liquor store. What?! Don’t judge me! Hehe.

  2. Becky Nuesken says:

    The kids get candy AND don’t brush? Does the ADA know about this?

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