My train station has introduced a Greeter - a person who stands on the platform and greets everyone as they board the train. This has a couple of obvious benefits for the commuters
1. gives us a readily available source of information about schedule changes and
2. assists people who are less familiar with the train travel process
So what's in it for the train company?
I dare say the validation of tickets will increase - Whilst the Greeter is not there to check every ticket, it is surely harder to avoid the validation process with a smiling Greeter standing in front of you. The power of shame!
But the beauty of this Greeter is how he is priming commuter behaviour. He is placing us in a positive frame of mind, forcing us to interact with him in a humanised way. I'll bet this will reduce the likelihood that we will become angry and resentful of the invariable delays and more forgiving of the train system. Well, a bit anyway!
And the lesson for marketers? Don't underestimate the human experience and how a business/Brand can prime the minds of customers for a better experience, particularly when times are tough.
For more on priming behaviour, check out Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational.
PS The morning after I posted this piece my train was cancelled and the Greeter was nowhere to be seen! Metro trains have a way to go to make life better for their commuting population,