Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mobil on the Run? Not So Much

The other day I was a little late and in a hurry when I stopped for gas at the local Mobil station because it was most convenient. I noticed it was a few cents more expensive than the place I usually go, but that was about a half mile out of my way and, well, I was late.

At the pump the computerized screen reads, "Insert card or begin pumping now". Great. I have cash so I lift the lever and try to pump the gas. Nothing. After fiddling with the pump, I run into the cashier (in the rain, by the way). So far, I'm still ok with Mobil but the cashier did two things that made me think I would not go back for a long time. It also made me think that their marketing department doesn't have a clue that 'on the run' doesn't mean much to those that are expected to implement the slogan.

First, I mentioned to the cashier (nicely, actually) that the pump said one thing, but clearly you need to do a different thing and maybe someone would want to look into changing that. He replied, "I was in the back so I didn't see you". Ok.... When I repeated what I said (admittedly a little more sternly) he replied, "Oh, I don't have anything to do with that". Clearly.

Secondly, when he asked how much I wanted I mentioned that I was going to fill it so I didn't know. He stared at me. So, I gave him a $20 and said that it would be more certainly be than that in the end. Back out in the rain I go and pump the gas and the pump shuts off at $20. Now, maybe their policy is that you need to pay up front and come in for any change. Fine. Tell me that! I was so disgusted, I got in my car and left.

All I kept thinking as the gas was pumping is, "This is clearly not 'on the run' at all!"

Tonight I went to my normal gas station, the local Exxon station. I got out to pump, noticing that the computerized screen says 'insert card now'. Right next to it is a good sized sticker with printed red letters that says something to the effect of 'cash customers kindly pay inside before pumping'. I felt much better because my first impression of the company is that they are trying to help me navigate the buying process.

Someone at Exxon understands that customer service may begin without a personal interaction at all. My initial impressions of these two companies formed as I read their pumps. When we are all paying an arm, leg and first born for gas these days we should at least be treated kindly. If 'kindly' is too much to ask then certainly with some forethought to our questions and needs.

Having a slogan is one thing. But it is only half the battle. Having buy-in from everyone that works for the company is another thing entirely. Smaller companies have an advantage there. Getting 25 people to live a tag line or slogan is much easier than asking tens of thousands of employees to do the same. It's a challenge, but one that marketing departments need to be very aware of, especially with consumers having so many choices for just about everything these days from the way they get their news to where they buy their gas and even where they buy their pet food.

For me, these two experiences have left me knowing that Exxon is a little more ahead of the game and, clearly, understand that time is of the essence. Not to mention, around here, they are less expensive. That, too, goes a long way!

Just a little tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.


Reva said...

Interesting that the experiences were so different for you since they are "Exxon/Mobil" now. It's been a few years--you'd think they'd maybe get some consistancy at some point!

Donna, try the Texaco! They were always nice to me when I lived up there! And BP is a good one too.

lites said...

how is it possible that two of the largest oil co's in the world merge & it's not in violation of the monopoly laws? Maybe W could explain that for us?

Donna Tocci said...

Lites, can he really explain anything correctly?? Nice to 'see' you here. Thanks for stopping by!

Fritz said...

XOM's merger was in 1998, which was Clinton era. As if any president (Clinton or Bush) has anything to do any of this.