Can USPS learn a thing or two from Walmart?
During my recent visit to the Dallas Digital Summit, I gained from Seth Godin (the keynote speaker and my new favorite marketing mentor) that a brand is a promise that an organization makes to its consumers and an experience a customer can expect every time they interact with the brand. I am summing up my first hand exposure to 2 contrasting brands today as an end consumer and letting you be the judge of this definition. I personally believe that Walmart is continuously working hard to live up to its brand so its shoppers can not only save money but more importantly live better everyday. On the other hand, I urge USPS to observe its customers, learn from its operations and drastically change its ways in order to avoid extinction.
To apply for my daughter’s passport, my husband and I took time off of our busy and precious workday to visit USPS. Why? Well, both parents have to present along with a long list of documents to get this process started for a child. Furthermore, passport hours are different from regular working hours at USPS. So one has to check the website or call them before showing up — there is no concept of scheduling a appointment in advance. We made the mistake of checking an outdated website and drove fast to reach our city post office a couple of minutes before 4 pm — closing time for passport application — only to learn that passport applications were no longer accepted past 3 pm. So they did not care to update the website nor make an exception for a family of 3 that drove all the way because they simply want to follow the protocols.
Disheartened by their attitude, we chose to make a grocery trip to Walmart instead. As soon as we entered the store, we experienced a variably different level of customer service. We were greeted by a warm lady who gave our daughter some stickers and candy (holiday time — it’s the season of giving). As we reached the tissue aisle to get a pack of napkins, our little one screamed with excitement pointing towards cough syrup and cough drops (her favorite cure for sore throat) that were strategically placed there so lazy parents like us wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the other side of the store for medicine during flu season. As we standing in the line to check out, we saw a bucket of fried chicken and freshly baked pizza prepared in the last one hour, available for pickup only between 4–7 pm and would need to be consumed the same day so our family wouldn’t have to worry about cooking dinner or going to another restaurant, all at an affordable price and appetizing taste.