Publix reinforces culture through signage


What is one thing that Publix, who is known for their tag line: Where Shopping is a Pleasure, do to reinforce this culture? It is the way they communicate through their signage. Stopping at the deli area, I notice the sign: “Please take a number for sliced meats & cheese, so it’s easy to see who’s next. Thank you.” The typical store signage would say: “Take a number.” Feel the difference?

In the fresh meat and seafood area, I notice the sign: “We gladly break packages. Please ask us.” and “We will gladly steam your seafood selection.” The typical grocery store would probably not even put up a sign stating this service, the customer would have to ask. And not only does Publix communicate this service, but they say they will gladly do it.

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Walking throughout the rest of the store, I see the following signs: Pickup – Online Easy Ordering. Communicating to the customer, that not only do we offer online ordering for pickup, but that it will be Easy! And my favorite is the sign that states: “We will never knowingly disappoint you. If for any reason your purchase does not give you complete satisfaction, the full purchase price will be cheerfully refunded immediately upon request. ” By sending the message they will “cheerfully refund” communicates to the customer to not be afraid to tell them if you are not completely happy with one of their products. They would rather you tell them so they have an opportunity to turn the situation around and make you happy vs. risk losing you as a customer because you don’t feel comfortable speaking up.

Take a look at how your signs are worded. Are they positive or negative? I recently saw a sign that said: “We do not take bills more than $50.” Not long after I saw a sign at another place that said: “We are happy to take bills less than $50.” Creates a different feeling, doesn’t it?

Go through all your signage and correspondence with your customers, internal and external. Identify and change those negative words and phrases into positive ones.  It may be a subtle action, but it will be felt and it will strengthen your service excellence culture and the customer experience.

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