Sunday, June 24, 2007

How Can Having a Seemingly Insensitive Name Attract Customers?

Is it just me, or has there been a sudden rise in companies using insensitive names to gain attention. Do you remember the car dealership with the Jihad sale?

I thought I’d seen it all until while driving my kids to the doctor, I saw a new store called, Goin’ Postal. Can you believe it? Goin’ Postal, that derogatory term that arose from disgruntled and sometimes ill people who charged into a post office shooting people. Dead. I know people have used the term since then to be funny. But a store? A franchise to boot. Really?

That’s it, I thought. I’m not going to stay quiet this time. So I went to their web site to investigate a little bit.

Then I wrote a letter (e-mail). This is what I wrote:

I was just visiting your company web site and was heartened to see your emphasis on family and good customer service. So I'm wondering about the story behind the name of your company. What made you choose "Goin' Postal" over other options? Have you had any negative feedback due to the term's origins?

I first got an automated reply: “This email is an automatic reply. We'll reply with a more personal email soon.” It included details on where to get information in the meantime and about how important franchisees are (in case the reader is a current or potential franchisee).

Then I got an email from the vice president saying she was unavailable and would respond to e-mails on xyz dates. She included how she would prioritize which e-mails would be dealt with first. I found that quite thoughtful and transparent. Here’s her priority list:

(1) emails from franchisees' company email addresses
(2) ad approvals
(3) sign approvals
(4) requests for press releases
(5) requests for vendor approvals
(6) exams for grading
(7) continuing education emails
(8) questions from potential franchisees
(9) all other types of emails

But I was still waiting for a reply to my questions. Stay tuned for Part II for a surprise.


Anonymous said...

I accidentally ran into your comments, perhaps because my corporate name is XYZ Enterprises and I recently purchased a Goin' Postal store. I DO NOT have authority to speak for the corporation

I was a Goin' Postal customer for about four years before buying a store. I have never heard anyone complain. And a great deal of the local store business involves the U.S. Postal Service. A postal worker picks up and delivers to our door daily.

When the price of potage stamps changed we sold some $4,000 in stamps for the post office. We don't earn a penny on stamps. We do it as a polic service, as do all Goin' Postal stores.

We buy the stamps for face value from the Post office and resell them for what we paid for the stamps. Although the Post Office is across the street, people come to our store because we have penthy of free parking, and because we serve them quicky and with a friendly smile.

I understand your point, but I'm not all sure sure others consider the name to be negative.

Rather than people finding the name upsetting, they tell us it is "clever" or "cute" or "fun." And no question that it is memorable.

As for the franchise people, I have met them and they are pleasant, gentle and fairly young (certainly under 50) and have the fastest growing packing and shipping franchise company in the country.

Christie Goodman, APR said...

Thanks so much for your comment. I am working on the second post that talks about how the head office's response changed my mind completely and made me a fan.

Kami Huyse said...

All in all, this is an excellent example of how "on the ball" this company is, even at the franchisee level.