by Ron Daly
Some things just never change, but should. Two examples.
My family and I returned home this week from our west coast vacation. As we turned into the driveway my daughter spotted a large plastic package with items inside leaning on the mailbox. Being nine, she naturally assumes that every package delivered to the house is something for her. As I exited the car I saw her struggling to carry the package with two large yellow books and one large white book inside. Dropping the 1,000 page books at my feet she asked “Dad, what are these?”
To which I replied, "Those are telephone books, sometimes referred to as 'yellow pages'."
If you have a nine-year-old you know there are even more questions to follow...I believe it went something along these lines.
Q: What are they used for?
A: People use them to look up up the telephone number of someone they want to call or a businesses they might want to hire.
Q: You mean they don’t Google them, look them up in their Outlook contacts or call 411?
A: Guess there are still some folks out there that need them.
Q: Did you pay for these books or ask for them?
A: No, dear.
Looking down the street at all the bags of books lining the driveways as far as the eye could see–
Q: Why did they print all these books, waste all this paper and leave them on everyone’s driveway if no one pays for them or uses them?
A: Guess it’s a conspiracy.
Thumbing through the A-L Yellow Pages she stopped in the “D” section
Q: Dad, why isn’t DigitalMailer listed in the Yellow pages?
A: Well, we are a digital communication company and it doesn’t make sense to spend money this way. Besides, any person that has to use the yellow pages to find us is probably not ready for the products and services we offer.
Q: What good is this ad on this page? It’s in black on yellow paper. There are no moving images and nothing interesting about it. I can’t click the website address to learn more and I can’t hit the phone number and have my cell phone dial the call for me.
A: Not everything keeps up with the changes going on. This is just an old-fashioned way people use to find information.
Her final comment as she walked the books directly over to our recycling bin and dropped them in… "What a waste of good trees."
One more example to share, from a conversation we had with a lovely lady I’ll refer to as “Marge” at the large national newspaper in our area. We decided rather than to stop the Sunday paper while we were gone, we’d just cancel it altogether. After waiting in the call queue for a while Marge was lucky enough to get our call. Here goes:
Ron – We’d like to cancel our Sunday paper subscription.
Marge – Why?
Ron – We get our news from other sources, we never read it and we wind up just recycling it each week.
Marge – What if we give you weekdays free?
Ron – (Thinking to myself – OK Marge, I don’t read Sunday and now you want to give me six more days not to read and recycle?) No thanks, we just want to save the $15 per month by cutting out something we don’t need.
Marge – You know, if you use just three coupons per week from the Sunday coupon section the paper will pay for itself with the money you save.
Ron – (Thinking to myself – Ok Marge, I’m not a “35-cents-off-of-ground-round-cut-that-coupon-out” kinda guy, but I do like that song. Besides that, my yellow and white flowered coupon organizer was retired about two weeks prior to my marriage, never to be resurrected again.) No thanks, we can get coupons and discount codes online for most of the stuff we need.
Marge – What if we just charge you 59 cents each week of the Sunday paper? Will you stay?
Ron – (Now I’m starting to boil realizing that I’ve been paying $15 per month for at least ten years for something that Marge is now selling to me for just over $2.40 per month) No thanks, just cancel the subscription.
I can remember which one of us hung up on the other, but the paper has stopped showing up.
Some things just never change, but should. So, my question is… Are you still delivering financial telephone books and newspapers? Are you relying on old systems and technology to reach customers faster and in the communication channel they want? Have you looked at the organization to make sure that you are not? Do you have any idea where financial services are going on the web and in the branches? Is your Virtual Branch even open?
We’ve launched an eStrategy presentation on the future of financial services that is perfect for senior management and Boards of Directors. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.