Almost every morning I walk through the Confederation Court Mall to Nature’s Harvest for a Red Berry Rush, and then out through the TD Bank on my way to the corner of Kent and Queen.

On the reception desk in the bank is a placard that gives an updated “customer service rating” for the bank. For the last while it has been reading “91.1%”

I wonder what that means. And whether it’s net positive or negative as a marketing effort. It’s possible to interpret this, without additional background, as “10 per cent of our customers are dissatisfied.” Which doesn’t seem like something you’d want to advertise.

A more effective, and actually useful approach to the same sort of thing was in the old Central Farmer’s Coop location on University Ave. The store has since been downgraded to a Coop Basics store, which has meant that most of the life has been sucked out of it; a decade ago, however, it still had some personality, and actually leant some credibility to the whole “You Are the Coop” slogan.

In any case, the old Coop had a suggestion box, and they actually read and posted their responses to all of the suggestions. Sometimes they could do something, sometimes they couldn’t, but they always responded. The suggestions ranged from things like “could you stay open longer hours?” to “how come you don’t have chocolate covered Oreos?”

What if, rather than giving us a hollow numeric representation, the TD Bank did likewise: add a suggestion/complaints box, and post each one, along with the response, on a bulletin board.


Chris Corrigan's picture
Chris Corrigan on January 14, 2005 - 18:43

Several of the natural food stores around here have been doing the suggestion box thing for a number of years, notably Capers and now Whole Foods Market. It seems an eminantly practical way to respond to requests AND show peopole that you respond to requests. In both cases, the board with all the suggestions and the manager’s comments is near the front of the store so that you see it when entering or leaving. In my experience they answer questions and comment quite quickly, from “can you source organic shitake” to “I hear you are an American chain…what would it take for you to spell things with a “u” in you marketing materials?”

Responses are always a sunny “yes we can do that” or a “regretfully we can’t do that and here’s why.”

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