In my efforts to tell Foursquare just where I’m at, I’m spending time adding businesses to the service’s directory. It is apparent that I’ve overlooked something for quite some time – many employees have no clue where they work.
At my local Subway and Office Max, not only did the employees not know the store’s phone number, they didn’t even know the address. And that’s not all… I often find that employees don’t know if the company has a web site or, if they do, the actual URL. They don’t know how to reach the company, say, on Twitter or Facebook, either.
Some may argue that there’s no reason for an employee to really know this unless he/she follows their employer on social media, but I beg to differ. Employees are, after all, the “marketing” agents when consumers enter the store. From the door greeter, to the folks who guide you to the products, to the cashier, they should be trained as actual representatives.
Gone are the days that I want landmarks as guidance. I rely on GPS to get me where I need to be (and my husband, who has been with me many times while lost, is grateful for this technology). This means I need the address (preferably with zip code) of the business so I don’t have to worry about missing a shopping center sign because of heavy traffic.
If I experience problems, I like to know whom I can call, email or write. I want to plug the website into my phone without having to go to google.com. Sadly, most often I’m forced to find all this information myself.
If you run a brick-and-mortar store, know this. I’m the consumer who wants to know how to find you. Perhaps I’ve texted 46645 (Google’s info service) for your phone number and need an address. Perhaps I’m in the store and need to know the phone number so my sister can meet me there. And maybe I want to send a shout out via Twitter about my experience. When your employees can’t give me any of this information, I’m stuck hunting around for myself, and that irritates the heck out of me.
I will note that, in my experience, the lack of this key information is much more apparent in big business and chain stores than with locally-owned Mom & Pops. In fact, it seems that the majority of small businesses using social media and the Internet in general are doing it in-house, and there’s usually always someone available who knows just what I’m talking about. They also seem more appreciative that I take the time to submit their business listing to Foursquare, so others may more easily find them.
It’s time for businesses to take the time to make sure employees know just where they work, and other ways to reach the company. This boils down to training, or, at the very least, business cards or printouts they can provide to consumers instantly. When an employee looks at me, laughing, and says, “Gosh I don’t even know… Hey John, do you know our address and phone number?” it makes me wonder just how he gets to work and how he calls in sick. No, seriously, it makes me wonder what other ‘101’ training businesses have been skipping, and the reasons why.