What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions CVS? If you said coupons, you may pass GO!
I’ve spent years wondering about those damn coupons. Those who frequent CVS know the drill. It takes less time to pick up a few items than it does for the cashier to print out the receipt with multiple random coupons attached. This procedure has baffled me and has caused the brand to become the brunt of bad jokes like this:
Good thing I had a CVS receipt in my wallet…
The men’s room was out of toilet paper.
Last week I needed to pick up more drugstore items than usual. I’m not much of a coupon clipper, however, I just happened to have a receipt from my last visit that was a couple of feet long. I decided to see how much I could “save.” I felt like this required the proper preparation, so I sat in my car and examined the coupons. Each one had its own qualifiers (like good only on Wednesday nights when there’s a full moon and the wind is blowing from the south). Also, it wasn’t clear if I could use them all at one time or only use one per visit. After about 5 minutes of trying to decipher which coupons to use when and on what products, I defaulted to my most common strategy – walk in, look dazed and confused, and hope some kind soul helps me.
It was relatively early on a Tuesday morning. I had my coupons neatly placed in an envelope and decided, as a first step, I’d try to figure things out on my own. It had to be easier than I was thinking, however, it was about to become the opposite! Under 90% of the products, there were additional discount offers posted like “Buy 2, Get One Free”. Suddenly my brain went from confused to bewildered. My impulsive response was to chuck the coupons, pick up my goods, then make like Wayne Gretzky and get the puck out of there. However, that day I decided to restrain myself, remain calm and focus on the mission.
After about 20 minutes, I came to the realization I needed help. So I headed toward the checkout area looking for a friendly face. As I approached, I noticed the cashier was not behind the counter. She had abandoned her post to handle an unrelated task. This seemed appropriate because the store wasn’t busy and she was close enough to the register to take care of the next customer without delay. As I wandered closer, I noticed she was stocking a shelf. She noticed my presence and became concerned that she was in my way. “I’m sorry, let me get out of your way,” she said politely. We then made eye contact and she continued, “How may I help you, today?”
During my career, I spent a lot of time around hourly employees, interacting with them and observing their behavior. I can usually decipher within seconds if they genuinely care or if they are just going through the motions. Once she spoke, I knew immediately, that she was the former. I noticed her name tag read Malisa.
Before I brought up my coupon-a-phobia, we enjoyed a little pleasant chat. Then all I had to do was mention the c-word and she launched into customer service mode! “There’s a CVS app, and I will show you how to use it!” Meanwhile, a couple of customers were on their way to the check-out counter. “Please excuse me, sir; let me take care of these customers, and we’ll continue our conversation in a minute. While I’m doing that, go ahead and download the CVS app.” She rushed back to her post and efficiently handled their transactions with a smile and a kind word for each.
Within a couple of minutes, there was a lull in the flow, so she returned to helping me. She was amazingly thorough and devoted to ensuring I had a complete understanding of the app’s functionality and how it could save me significant dinero. During her mini-seminar, Malisa had her eye out for customers while explaining the nuances of the app and patiently answering my questions.
There’s more to this story. Malisa was hurting emotionally. We somehow got to talking about life’s traumas during our initial conversation. I brought up our newborn grandson having open-heart surgery three days after his birth. She shared that she’d recently been through several traumatic life events, that she had endured one right after the other. She wasn’t complaining. She was simply sharing from a “glass half full” perspective.
I have high expectations when it comes to customer service. Malisa went above, beyond and then some. She’s been an employee of CVS for 2-years, a long time in the hourly world. I can only hope CVS appreciates her as much as I do.
In case you are wondering I purchased $86 worth of stuff and spent a total of $53 thanks to Malisa. For those reading without a calculator in hand, that’s roughly a 40% discount. More importantly, she completely changed my perception of CVS.
I can’t thank you enough for reading my blog. I look forward to your comments.