The local milkman just knocked on my door trying to drum up business. Hats off to him for putting in the leg work to win people over. Face to face contact is what local communities have revolved around for centuries. But that's changing and our milkman left my door without making a sale.
He said that he wanted to keep the local round going. Without more customers, it might go bust. Nobody likes to see long-held traditions die out, but businesses have to keep up with the times. As the years go by, British milkmen are going to come across more and more people like me.
Although my previous experiences with milk delivery has been good, one thing always bugged me – I am out of control of our business relationship:
- I have to remember to write notes on scraps of paper when I want more or less milk. (My memory is next to useless).
- I have to remember to cancel the milk when I go on holiday.
- I have no idea how to contact my milkman (although there is probably a number on www.yell.com).
- I have to write a cheque (or leave cash by the door) to pay for my milk. Who writes cheques in 2007?
- I don't know how much each months bill is going to cost.
- I don't know what other products my milkman can deliver.
I told the milkman that he needs to get a website. He laughed and said "no thanks". But he has no idea how a good website could transform his business…
- Every customer would have total control over their orders and change them whenever they want.
- His sales would increase dramatically as people discover all the other things he sells.
- He can email all his customers and build stronger relationships with them (most people have virtually zero contact with their milkman because they deliver the milk so early in the morning).
- He would be paid on time by Direct Debit or credit card. No more chasing bad debts.
- He would have a record of all the deliveries he needs to make every day, so he won't get orders wrong.
- It could become his accounting system and stock control system.
I love the fact that milkmen reuse the glass milkbottles. I am impressed that they have used low-emission electric milk-carts for decades. I like the quirky British idea that milk should be freshly delivered every day.
But it's not enough to make me buy their milk. They need to make life easier for me. Businesses must innovate to survive and British milkmen will go bust unless they catch up with modern life.