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    How Exits Lead To Anger

    April 6th, 2009

    When you are driving along the highway and suddenly notice that you are almost out of gas you want one thing: gas.  You glance up and see a huge billboard advertising the very thing you are looking for.  It talks about the “Cold Beer”, “Fresh Coffee”, and “Exit Number 32” but most importantly it is a gas station.  If you are lucky it even has the current price.

    You quickly look for the small green mileage posts to figure out just how far that is.  After a few moments you see that you are at mile post 30.  Only 2 more miles.  You feel a bit more at ease.  About a minute or so later you see the familiar signs listing Food, Gas, Lodging and the like. A moment later you are upon the exit ramp.  You take it off cruise control and start slowing.

    Halfway down the ramp you see the sign with the logo of your favorite gas station and an arrow to the right.  You roll up to the stop sign at the end of the exit ramp and turn right.  No gas station in sight.  You drive along anyway until you finally just turn around and continue on to the next exit.  Now you’re angry.  The gas station was only another mile ahead, but you will never see it.

    I have one thing to say to businesses that are on these exit ramp signs: don’t lead people on like this.  I’m not sure what the rules are, or if it varies state by state, but I hate it when locations on the exit sign don’t have a distance on them.  It is such a small thing to do.  It’s not like the distance changes each day.  There is just no reason not to have 1.2 miles or 5.7 miles or whatever underneath the logo on the exit ramp.

    Perhaps it is just me, but I like to know the distance to my destination.  It is so easy to add this to the exit signs and yet for some reason no exit around me has that piece of information.  How many displeased customers are created because of this?  More importantly, how many people does that business lose because people can’t see it from the highway and don’t know how far away it is.  If they know it was just a mile away perhaps they would take the exit, instead the just keep driving hoping that the next exit will have a sign visible from the highway.

    Small things, like distance to location on the exit sign, are so critical in providing an optimal customer experience.  This blog is built on that very principle, that every little scrap of information has value; if you overlook the scraps (also called “the long tail”) you are going to miss huge opportunities.

    Does your area have distance on the exit ramp signs?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.