How I lost a trip to Europe

I was happily on my way home from a successful op shop expedition when I saw this sign. Well, I’d just been thinking about travel to Europe so I thought this must be the Law of Attraction in action. Beauty! Even though I was travelling at 80km an hour down the highway, the thought that I could win a trip to Europe was enough for me to decide in a split second that I would find a way to spend $25 so I could enter the draw. Even though this shopping centre was not my regular one, I did actually need to do some food shopping and I thought ‘why not’. So I pulled in.

Mistake 1 — no clear information
Once inside the Hallett Cove Shopping Centre, I spent 20 minutes trying to find out more details. Firstly, I spoke to a café owner who told me the competition was finished, that Centre Management wasn’t working that day and where to find the security guy instead. I couldn’t. Next, the Mister Minit man was very helpful and said the cleaner would know. She did. She actually made the time and took me up to the sign at the other end of the centre, which said the competition finished at 5pm that very day. I had time! It was destiny! That trip was mine!

Mistake 2 — underestimating the demand
Next, I went to Foodland to ask if they had any entry forms left. (I would never have thought of that, but the cleaner suggested I check.) No. They’d run out. So had Woolworths. So had Big W.

Human beings are emotional creatures
In the space of half an hour, my mood went from being elated at the idea of winning a trip to Europe to having my hopes dashed by what I saw as stupid incompetence. Now, right now you may be thinking that the probability of me winning was maybe 1 in thousands, and you’d be right. But that’s irrelevant. My point is this — when people act and when they buy, they are driven by emotion much more than logic. This was a great example of human emotions in action. I left the centre in disgust, vowing never to bother going there again.

From customer to complainant
Hallett Cove Shopping Centre had the potential to turn me into a brand new customer, and they failed dismally. And who knows how many other potential customers they lost! Now, in the old days, we whinged to about 11 people…but that was before social media. The damage that can be done to a business by making customers unhappy is so much greater these days.

When you promise the world, you’d better deliver
If you’re going to offer something to your customers, make sure you can fulfil on your offer. As the saying goes…’Under-promise and over-deliver’. Much safer.

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