Since I did my White Paper on Walgreens and Rite-Aid, it would make sense if I tried to predict their future in PR. I am going to start with Walgreens since I work there. It gives me an opportunity to be the insider, but it also makes me bios.
As I mentioned in my White Paper, Walgreens cares about its image a lot. Their main task is to have a happy customer no matter what. We, as employees, have to make sure there is no misunderstanding, miscommunication, and no hard feelings between us and our customers. It is not easy to do, and, frankly, unrealistic as well. Walgreens chooses to believe that one customer is worth 10 employees. From a marketing perspective it makes sense. One lost customer per year could cost a company up to 15% of annual profit.
With all of the above, Walgreens makes sure its employees have a say. There is a counseling line any of us can call when we need to talk. It is an open communication place, so we are free to raise questions and find support.
But that all is internal. External PR Walgreens has has been working pretty well. In September of last year, Rochester area’s Walgreens introduced its shopping club card that is called Balance Rewards Card. The idea behind is pretty similar to all other cards out there:
- The card allows customers get sale prices that are advertised in a weekly ad along with a monthly coupon saving book.
- Customers get points for certain items or a certain amount spent. These items change every week and are easy to find in store since they have a blue price tag that explains what needs to be bought in order to get certain amount of point. Later points can be converted into money that could be used to reduce the total at check out.
- Once signed up for the card with phone number and email, customers get exclusive offers, deals, and coupons.
Along with having the card, Walgreens makes sure their customers know about photo department and the deals that going on there. Walgreens has two types of photo labs:
- Dry lab – this lab takes digital pictures only and prints them on 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, posters, canvas prints, burns CD and DVD, photo gifts, and photo restorations.
- Wet lab – this lab has the same functions, but unlike dry lab, customers can develop their film there and get the same products (posters, CD, DVD, etc) ready.
Recently Walgreens came up with a Quick Prints app which is available through their free Walgreens app.
So, with everything already in place, can Walgreens improve its PR? Could Walgreens get better at positioning itself on the market? Will Walgreens stay at the corner of happy and healthy?
http://scottpublicrelations.com/free-health-care-for-unemployed-good-business-ethic-and-big-pr-opportunity/ – this is a very interesting article on Walgreens’ pharmacy prices and opportunities it has for its competitors. This raises the question – with so much going on at Walgreens: photo, new card, a lot of employees, a lot signs all over the stores, multitasking – will Walgreens loose itself? Did they get into too much too soon?
I think Walgreens has a lot to work on starting with the way they treat their employees and ending with the way they treat their customers. Walgreens wants to be seen as a major pharmacy that covers every part of consumers’ lives. It is a very big piece to swallow.
In order for Walgreens to stay on the market and to build a stronger relationship with public, they need to:
- Make sure Walgreens keeps up with good advertisement.
- Keep sponsoring major events and shows, so the target market could grow bigger.
- Understand that sometimes loosing a customer is okay. It is not true that customer is always right, and Walgreens need to be in touch with time to realize that sometimes it is better to let a customer go. Use the life time value formula to select its best customer and target them.
- Slow down with new additions to Walgreens services and make sure the current ones work well.
- Keep up with a great customer response center where every question is answered via phone, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Listen to their critics and find an opportunity to turn into a beneficial addition.
Once this is all in place, Walgreens has a good chance of doing even better. Their PR department has a lot to consider, but it is a huge corporate, so there is a lot to lose, but also a lot to gain.