Published on: February 26, 2015
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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
I talk a lot here on MNB about the importance of the people who are on the front lines of any retail experience. As important as it is to have relevant merchandise and a compelling shopping experience, it is even more important to have people working in the store who believe in the mission, who engage with shoppers, who make you feel like there is some sort of personal connection taking place, not just a transaction.
Last summer, I was walking around Newport Avenue Market with co-owner Lauren Johnson, and out of the blue a customer came up to us and inquired about an employee who had been ailing. They had a long chat about her, and I remember thinking to myself that at some level, these was emblematic of what happens in a one-store independent.
But it is not just one-store independents. On this cold day in February, I am standing in front of my local CVS. And when I say local, I mean local ... I live about a quarter-mile from here, and my office is actually right next door. Last week, while traveling on the west coast, I heard through the grapevine that Gail Hadsell, one of the checkout folks at CVS, had passed away after a long bout with cancer. She was 68.
Now, I didn't really know Gail. I had no idea how old she was, didn't know she was sick. What I did know was this - whenever I stepped up to her checkout, she'd greet me with a smile, call me by name, inquire about my wife and kids, ask me how business was. She was conversational enough that somehow we ended up talking about MorningNewsBeat and our book, "The Big Picture," and I gave her a copy, just because she seemed interested.
It is people like Gail who make the difference between just a standard store experience and one that is exceptional. It is that simple. She was a resource that they will not be able to replicate in there.
It doesn't matter whether you are a one-store operation or a chain with thousands of stores. It really al comes down to the same thing - how do I feel when the transaction takes place. People like Gail make you feel good, are are worth far more than the items that get listed every year in annual reports and get announced at shareholder meetings.
I hope that CVS somehow let Gail know that while she was alive and working in the store, making a difference. Hell, I wish I'd told her.
That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to know what is on your mind.
- KC's View: