Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Train Greeter is priming gold

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,

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