YOUR SECRET WEAPON
There's a new coffee shop that opened up in town, that looks ridiculously cool. Chesterfield sofas, retro furniture, antique cutlery with quirky cups and saucers. Plus, when you look at the menu, you can tell the owners really care about what they're doing. Locally sourced organic ingredients with a super swish looking website promising the best quality.
Now, bearing in mind I spend a fair bit of my working hours in coffee shops, yes, I'm one of 'those' people, I decided I needed to get my derrière to this funky sounding place. Whilst my local coffee shop has friendly staff who embarrassingly already know what I'm going to order before I even say it, it's a chain coffee shop and it just lacks a little much desired atmosphere.
So, I take a special trip to what seems like a worth while venture. I walk in, super excited to squish my bum in one of their sofas for an afternoon, drink coffee, do a little work (and maybe eat a little cake).
I take a look around, it's small, but certainly quaint and designed with love. It's not overly busy, there's around 10 tables and 2 are free - albeit both with dirty plates on them.
No worries, I'm sure they'll soon be cleared up.
I walk up to the counter, I'm greeted - and when using the word greeted I use it loosely - by a girl who quite clearly does not want to be there. I get a fed up half scowl, no words, just a scowl.
I need the loo before getting comfy and order, so I ask where they're found. Now, there's a distinct possibility at the very same time I asked this question I morphed into an alien like creature, as I was certainly looked at like I was from a complete other planet, grunted at, and pointed to the back of the room. Things are declining rapidly.
I do what I need to do and grab one of the dirty tables. I've been here about 10 minutes now in total, no other customers have come up but has any clearing up happened? Sadly no.
I'm starving so decide to persevere before my stomach starts to eat itself and go back up to the counter to ask for my table to be cleared and order some food. Again, it's highly possible I morphed back into that alien like creature because I'm met by a face of... 'Really? Are you really coming to bother me when I clearly don't want to be here let alone serve anyone, meets, who or what is this odd creature in front of me?!'
I'd have settled for a simple 'what would you like to order?' but it's soon clear I'm setting my standards way too high for this place.
I asked for some food and a mocha. Response 'we don't do mochas'. Full stop. That's it. Man, this is getting super painful, and in all honesty, it's putting my off my food. I go to start to explain how it's just a shot of coffee (which they do) in hot chocolate (which they do) - and then I think, seriously, fuck it.
AM I REALLY GOING TO PAY FOR THIS??
NO, NO I AM NOT.
The owners obviously care about the place, the staff unfortunately, do not.
So I grab my stuff and take my thirsty and hungry tum straight back out to the nearest chain store.
NOW, LET'S COMPARE THIS TO MY GROCERY DELIVER GUY WHO TURNED UP LATER THAT EVENING...
A knock at the door from a guy with my baskets of groceries in hand.
It's howling with wind and grizzly rain, yet he's beaming a great big smile at me and asking how my evening's been. He carries all my food happily up my stairs telling me how - 'it's all there, no substitutions today but feel free to check as I'm unpacking'.
I make a British style comment about the weather, but he's not letting it get him down and continues to merrily smile away. He asks if there's anything else he can do, like any recycling I need taking away? And then bids me a fair weekend before he leaves.
Now, the delightful Colin who firmly restored my faith in human kind again, instantly inspired me to do something far more important than put my melting ice cream away or milk in the fridge. It was to pick up my MacBook and email the store to say what a delight it was to have him deliver my food. And how this random delivery guy completely brightened up my evening.
Did he do anything special or fancy? Nope. He just unleashed the secret weapon, A SMILE, and he actually gave a damn about his customer.
So what seems to be so simple, so obvious, NEVER take for granted.
Do you want customers? Do you want to keep them? Do you want them to rave about you to all their friends to 'check out this person/place/shop/whatever!'? Then turn up, SMILE, show them you're honoured they're a customer customer of yours and give some kind of damn about them.
IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
The alternative? A crappy blog post about some shocking service and money that was meant for you in the hands of the business next door who could whip out a smile, a thanks, and a have a nice day.