On Wednesday, I received 69 messages to my personal email. I deleted 65, unopened. The four I read included an alert from my daughter’s high school, a waiver that I needed to sign, an appointment confirmation, and a Walgreens email.
As someone involved daily in communications, the fact that I opened the Walgreens email surprised me. For reference, my trash contains 24 unopened Walgreens emails from the past 30 days.
After giving the email a quick read, my takeaway was this: Walgreens did an excellent job responding to recent customer survey feedback, right up until the end.
Hit #1: We hear you
The subject line of the Walgreens email I opened was, we hear you & we’re making changes.
My first thought in reading this was how nice to see an organization practicing what communication pros preach. If you solicit feedback from employees and customers, make sure you close the loop. Share what the survey results were and how you intend to act on the feedback you’ve received. Acknowledgment is a powerful motivator.
Even though I haven’t filled out any recent surveys from Walgreens, I was still motivated to open this email because I was interested in what other people had to say.
Some of the issues vexing customers right now - longer lines, out-of-stock items, delayed appointments. Yes, I’ve experienced this too at my own corner store, and I appreciate the company’s honesty in addressing its current challenges.
Hit #2: We’re making changes
The changes Walgreens email outlines to address customer concerns aren’t earth-shattering – speedier appointment scheduling, hiring new team members, a reminder to use their app – but I still appreciate their candidness.
I also appreciate that they aren’t making excuses for the problems at their stores. We all know the pandemic has turned life upside down and inside out. However, Walgreens is a publicly-traded, international goliath and one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the U.S. I don’t have that much sympathy for them. They should have the money, clout, and resources to weather this storm better than the average person.
This leads me to what I believe is the big “miss” of the Walgreens email.
The Miss: We’re in this together
After a refreshing company email acknowledging the voice of the customer and the steps the company is taking to improve its service, Walgreens wraps up its email with this:
“We’re in this together, and because of your feedback and understanding, we’re confident we’ll all come out stronger.”
Aside from “we’re in this together” being one of the most overused phrases of the pandemic, it is absurdly untrue. The Walgreens email is signed by its president, John Standley.
You and I are not in this together, Walgreens President John Standley. You are the president of a multi-billion-dollar organization. You rub elbows with the Wall Street elite. You have an annual salary that is more than I’ll earn in multiple lifetimes. You and I share absolutely nothing in common, and therefore you and I are decidedly not in this together. So then I threw the email in the trash.
Mind you, this is all just my opinion, and nothing more. Sure, I was irritated by the email, but I’ll still shop at Walgreens, and it certainly doesn’t mean the entire campaign was a flop. The data analytics from the email will tell the real story.
If Walgreens measures the success of this email campaign based on open email rates, I have now opened, read, and re-read the email multiple times.
If Walgreens measures success based on app downloads, then I guess the email will not be as successful because the link in the email took me to a page about prescription refills.
I have an appetite for getting things done. As an advertising and corporate communications leader, I am experienced in bringing people, as well as animals, together. I have led cross-departmental teams and developed trusted relationships with C-Suite executives. I have 20 years of public relations and marketing communications experience, including providing traditional, digital and social media services to billion-dollar brands. I don’t believe in lengthy processes or convoluted platforms. I believe in hard work, empathy and love.