Yesterday I ran all of my weekly errands. I went to the credit union, dry cleaners, post office, grocery store, Kinko’s. Because I am a small business owner and work from home, I go to these places pretty much every week. Some might say I’m a regular. I was sitting in my car in front of the dry cleaner’s recently, finishing up a cell phone call (side note: because I don’t want to be one of those profoundly rude people who carry on conversations while transacting business as if these employees are invisible monkey servants — not cool). Anyway, I am so regular here that the gal recognized my car, knows my name and brought the clothes TO ME!! The old guy at the Post Office smiled at me this week and said, “Nice to see you AGAIN.” He’s a government employee. Kinko’s is my home away from home — they are like co-workers. I always get “hellos” from them. Everyone at my grocery store is friendly. In fact, they’ve trained their box-people (the politically correct term) to NOT say “DO you need some help out with your groceries?” which is a question that always provokes shame — um, YES! I’m too lazy to wheel my groceries to my car — instead they cleverly say, “I would LOVE to help you take your groceries to your car.”
Then I went to the credit union. It was Friday — there was a line at the teller row as usual. There were two MSRs sitting at desks, no members with them. Desks looking pretty clean — one desk even had a CLOSED sign on it like you’d see in a teller window.
I just needed somethng notarized. I asked her if she was OPEN? She said, that depends….what did I need?
“Oh, just a Notary,” I explained. You could see the relief on her face — “I’m sorry, our Notary is not in today. You might want to check back tomorrow.” And with that she went right on typing (a personal email no doubt).
Wow. I don’t blame her — I blame the culture. That’s why I’ve changed from being a brand consultant to a culture consultant. If your reputation sucks, all the marketing in the world cannot help you — it’s just frosting on the pig.
This credit union has great marketing — but their service sucks. My dry cleaners doesn’t market at all — they don’t have to.

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