You know those signs that people stick on things.
Or screw to things.
I’m talking about professionally produced signs.
Or hand written signs.
Well; imagine that those signs weren’t signs at all.
Imagine they were actual people.
Inside your business.
Saying what you want to say out loud.
OUT OF ORDER.
So that ‘OUT OF ORDER’ sign you printed in shouty block capitals.
With a couple of exclamation marks.
On ordinary 80gsm A4 paper.
The kind of paper that curls and somehow attracts dribbling dampness within minutes.
Before you Blu Tacked it to the vending machine at eye-height.
That kind of a sign is, I suppose, the signage equivalent of some horrible scruffy bastard stood in front of your vending machine and shouting.
Into my face.
With no apology.
And no explanation.
That the thing I was hoping would work.
In the world of brand building.
Are called Brand Touchpoints.
In actual fact, every single thing that every single one of your customers experiences in your business is a Brand Touchpoint.
And you always have a choice.
So you can choose:
OUT OF ORDER.
Or you can choose:
Argh! We’re really sorry. We noticed this vending machine wasn’t working when we came on shift on Tuesday 27th August at 9am.
We’re looking to have things back up and running by 5pm on Thursday 29th August. If you fancy a snack in the meantime, please pop to reception.
Thank you for your patience.
Or better still:
Argh! I’m really sorry. I noticed this vending machine wasn’t working when I came on shift on Tuesday 27th August at 9am.
I am looking to have things back up and running by 5pm on Thursday 29th August. If you fancy a snack in the meantime, please pop to reception. (Ask for Penny. Or Claire. And tell them Paul sent you!)
Thank you so much for your patience.
Paul Jones. General Manager. +44(0)7960 112 367
Attentive is better.
Attentive and personal is better still.
Professional signage is very often just as bad.
And just plain rude.
KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEAD. KEEP YOUR DOG OFF THE GRASS.
Means just the same as:
Hello there. Very young children and babies play and crawl 0n this Family Grass Square. So no dogs are allowed on at any time, please. There’s a separate field for dog walkers just behind the bar. It’s 30 yards away and please always clean up after you. Have a great day – and thank you.
It’s all about giving a shit.
Giving a shit about how you and your business make people feel.
And if you’re clever.
Really, really clever.
You can tell people something bad.
Like the vending machine is broken.
Or that you are not allowed to walk your dog here.
Or that we are too busy to even talk to you.
And make them feel good at the same time.
Call Paddy Power’s Customer Support line on 0800 056 5275.
And hope that they are too busy to speak to you.
There’s a lovely Irish guy that chats on about what you can do whilst you’re waiting.
Eat a slice of toast.
Make a cup of tea.
Listen to your favourite tune.
Except if it’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
He quips in his lovely Irish drawl.
Because we’d hope to be here to help you much quicker ‘dan dat’.
Even though he’s just a recording.
And even though he’s telling me that everyone Paddy Power is too busy to speak to me.
I just like the thought they’ve put into it.
Because even though a business cannot always give everyone what they want.
They can make the effort to help them to understand why, and try their best to make them feel OK about it.