Three Savvy Marketers
Our local convenience store a block away has a loopy name that took some getting used to: Wawa.
Started as a dairy in 1902 in Wawa, Pa., the company has nearly 600 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, with a total of 17,000 employees.
Our Wawa is open all the time, spotless, stocked with basic foodstuffs you need when you need them and manned by incredibly nice people. In addition, 157 of the stores sell gasoline.
We recently returned from 12 days in Italy, and the bankers nicked us for an international transaction fee on top of every credit card charge, even though everything is electronic and automatic. The financial services industry is basically a business of sharks eating its customers alive any way it can.
Wawa is not in the financial services business. It is a world-class retailer. If a customer uses one of its ATM machines, chances are some of the cash will be used for an in-store purchase. So in 1996 management opted to charge no fees on Automatic Teller Machine usage by customers. The result:
- 1 billion ATM transactions in 14 years
- $1.3 billion in ancillary income forfeited
- Happy Wawa customers spent $4.7 billion in 2007
MBAs would call this CRM—customer retention management
I also call it CRM—customer relationship magic.
Are you doing anything to make your customers feel real good about doing business with you?
If not, why not?
We’ve had bum luck with US Airways recently. When we flew to Paris in 2008, the plane had mechanical problems and took off late. Just before crossing the Atlantic, an announcement was made from the cockpit that the mechanical problem had resurfaced and we were heading back to Philly. A replacement plane was found and we arrived in Paris 12 hours late.