Diane Hagen has worked for our Co-op for 35 years. Here she talks about why it’s important to keep talking to customers about the difference the 1% is making to local causes in our communities.
Kirkham’s community is a lot bigger than it once was but as we’re a small store we do try to create a community feel.
I think membership is the best thing Co-op’s done in a long time. Our customers were disillusioned because they knew they weren’t really getting anything back for shopping with us. We lost a few customers along the way because of that. Now we’ve got them back because of 5% and 1%.
I knew that Co-op always gave back to communities but our customers (and some of our colleagues) had forgotten. I used to say: ‘we’ve just given some money to the girl guides down the road’ but because it wasn’t so visible they didn’t get it. Now it’s out there, people are seeing what we’re doing.
Every time anyone comes in I talk about our local causes and who we’re supporting this round. When the totaliser goes up in store they see the reality of what they’re raising and it encourages them to spend more on our own-brand products.
People don’t know enough about the fact that they can go online and choose the cause they want to support so I try and tell them at the till. Obviously you can’t have a massive conversation but it only takes a minute to remind them to support their favourite one.
Keep it personal
We’ve already supported the local scouts, Pear Tree Children’s Centre and Kirkham Young Farmers Club. It was the scouts that I supported with my 1%. I make sure I tell our customers why. Having two boys – even though they’re older now – they used to go to scouts and I know how hard it is to raise funds for these sorts of things.
That kind of money is major to them and it’s all going to the cause/the children – there’s nothing being spent on administration.
As colleagues I think we need to get more behind membership ourselves – buy own-brand products, go online to choose our local cause, and tell more of our customers about our own experience of 5% and 1%.
The message is getting through
I think the message about what we’re doing in the community is getting out there. And it’s not always in the ways you think. I always ask: have you seen our advert? People don’t always take notice of the bigger things though.
It’s better when they’re in the store environment to say what we’re doing – our customers take more notice and it means more to them because it’s local.
Customer Team Member