Mark Graban's leanblog.org - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

Customer Intimacy = Safety from Salmonella?

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I'm not one, generally, to worry about consumer privacy with stores and them tracking my purchases. I like that amazon.com keeps a record of my purchases, as they can make recommendations for related items and my shopping history is available to me online. I'm not one to be freaked out about grocery store “discount cards” tracking my purchases, but I do wish (in a way) that they'd just offer lower prices without the cards (as Albertson's is now doing).

In an ideal state, stores would be trustworthy and only do good things with this information — finding ways of better serving the customer (instead of just selling the information for profit).

A good example — another store that tracks my purchases is Sam's Club. I recently received a letter from them that, once again, pointed out that I had purchased food that had been recalled, this time pistachios.

I got a full refund from Sam's Club and, although I had heard about the general salmonella concern about pistachios, I might not have thought about what was already in my pantry.

Thanks, Sam's Club for using my customer data in a proactive and helpful way. Had I bought these at a regular grocery store, even using my discount card, would they have contacted me? I'm guessing not… what's your experience with this?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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