Lessons on Transparency, Faith and Recognizing Your Staff

I do not mind grocery shopping but it never takes me less than an hour.
I always buy more than I need and I have to carry all the groceries up three
flights of stairs. So it should come as no surprise for those of you who know
what Peapod is, that I am a huge Peapod fan.

Peapod was founded in 1989 and touts itself as the oldest online grocery
service. Peapod users go online, select groceries, pick a delivery time and
just like that the food shopping is done. The delivery person brings them to
your home. You give him/her your coupons and they are off.

  © 2011 iStockphoto.com/Edyta

Though I think their services are amazing they are going above and
beyond and supplementing that expectation using a tool that I know and love and
encourage all O&P business owners to take advantage of – facebook.

Lesson one: Be transparent

Peapod is taking advantage of the social network boom. Their approach is
unique and the community being created as a result of that experience is more
of a fan base than customer list. The Peapod facebook page appears to be
completely transparent. When people have complaints about broken eggs, failed
coupon redemption and frozen produce, those feeds appear alongside the gleaming
reviews. Every company receives complaints, but a lot of them react with their
finger on the delete key in fear of turning away a potential new customer.

What sets them apart from other companies? The Peapod team responds to
each complaint and the Peapod fans practically fall all over each other
defending the service. Peapod has faith in their fans. Peapod is secure in
their knowledge that they truly do make people’s lives that much easier by
providing a much needed, wanted and valued service. There is always room for
improvement in customer service but if you make someone’s life easier, you
have made a fan for life and you can trust them to market on your behalf.

If you are using social media networking: Be transparent and have faith
in your fans.

Lesson two: Recognize internal assets

Not only does the Peapod interact with their customer base frequently,
but they also acknowledge their staff members on what they call the Peapod Pros
page. They feature a different driver/delivery person every month. I checked
out the Pros page right before I started writing this column and, true story,
one of my regular drivers/delivery people is featured. Obviously lots of people
think he’s as great as I do or he would not have made it to the Pros page.
I feel proud of my driver. I feel validated that other people think that he is
great too. I am excited to see him the next time so I can tell him that I saw
him on the Pros page.

Peapod is actively a community. If you have a platform for it –
facebook, website, e-mail newsletter – create your own version of a Pros
page. If you are transparent and you are going to allow complaining and venting
then you definitely need to have a place where people can tell you how great
you all, your employees, your staff, your boss, are. Yes it is a glorified
Employee of the Month. It is also a morale booster and a community builder. You
can not ask for more.

Disclosure: Elizabeth Mansfield does
not have any relevant financial disclosures.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing
Solutions. She can be reached at
elizabeth@askelizabeth.net .

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