Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Be Right Back

I was at a client's office yesterday, and we broke around 1 p.m. to head downstairs to grab lunch at the pre-fab sandwich and salad cafe, only to be met by a sign that read "Back in 5 Minutes."

Just what kind of customer communication is this, anyway? None of us had seen the cashier leave, so how were we supposed to know when the 5 minutes were going to be up? Yet you see signs like this posted all the time at small shops - "Back in an Hour", "Back in a While," "Be Right Back."

As it happened, the cashier bustled back in while we were making fun of the sign. She was a bit smokey, so my guess is that she went out side to grab a cigarette, so the 5 minute estimate was just about right. Not that we would have stood there waiting for 5 minutes, but this at least within the bounds of reason.

"Back in an Hour"? "Back in a While"? What's that supposed to mean.

Every small shop should get themselvs one of those little clock signs with the movable hands. That way customers will know that if the thick hand is on the ten, and the thin hand is on the two, they'll be back at 10:10.

As marketers, we all need to occasionally place ourselves on the other side of the door we're posting our messages on and ask ourselves just how our customers might be receiving them.

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