January 30, 2014

Oh, the humanity!

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak.

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak.

I’m about to place a national brand in a positive light. But in the interest of full disclosure, our agency has not, and never has had, any relationship with this brand. In other words, we have nothing to gain by pumping up this brand within the hallowed halls of the ab+c blog-a-teria. So now that we have that straight, let the games begin!

The other night, I visited my local Walgreen’s pharmacy. I bought two greeting cards and a gallon of 2% milk. As the clerk handed me my receipt she said, “Thanks — and be well.” On my way out I thought, “Did she just say ‘be well’?” Suddenly, a warm, life-affirming feeling washed over me — just as it does when those cute little yorkies scamper across the floor at the Westminster dog show. What happened to the standard “Have a nice day,” I thought. Or even the beloved “Take ‘er easy”?

Sure, I’m used to counter clerks mumbling the obligatory “have a nice day” — but it’s usually at about 11:30 at night. (You can tell I shop a lot at night.) But when a clerk utters “have a nice day” at 11:30 p.m., it leaves me wondering, “Does he want me to have a nice final 30 minutes of the current day or was he referring to my upcoming day?” (Chances are it’s neither.) So when a chain drugstore changes the entire “Thank you for shopping at (insert any and every store name here)” paradigm, that’s big news!

Introduced chain-wide last March, Walgreen’s new slogan has generated a surprising amount of online consumer backlash. My favorite came from a woman complaining that Walgreens clerks encourage you to “Be well” while they’re trying to upsell you candy at the checkout counter! (Obvious crackpot comment.)

Bottom line: I feel better about the Walgreens brand based simply on this seemingly minor customer service tweak. The 2014 version of American society spends a great deal of time finding better ways to connect with each other electronically. There’s something to be said for trying to improve how we connect in “real” face-to-face settings.

Hey, until we meet again, take ‘er easy.

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