As an itinerant marketing teacher and consultant, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops and restaurants. One thing I’ve learned from this experience is to to be flexible in addressing the needs of your customers.
I’m writing this article while sitting in a bar and grill on the Bellingham, WA waterfront. When I arrived the place was empty but as time passed more and more folks showed up. The afternoon was beautiful and many people asked to sit on outside. Guess what “management,” said? You guessed it the manager said, “sorry the deck is closed”.
Over and over again the manager said the same thing, “sorry the deck is closed”. Sitting in a corner of the bar working on administrative tasks I heard most of those customers grumble about not being able to sit outside and enjoy the wonderful weather.
I wondered over and over again why the staff didn’t just accommodate these grumbling customers. I’m sure they have good reasons; lack of staff, too hard, don’t care? What would be so difficult about serving people in the place they want to consume the service?
What if we could find a way to say yes to our customers? Not because we have to but because we want them to have the best experience possible. Not because it is easier but because it’s better for our customer.
Accommodating the personal needs of these customers required no capital investments or any other long-term commitments. All that was needed was a flexible manager willing to help customers fulfill their needs.
We’ve all been there. The hope to experience something amazing and the denial of that experience by someone who controls the experience. It’s disappointing, isn’t it? When you have the chance to delight your customer don’t disappoint them instead. Doing so is a lost opportunity to create a great experience for them that could lead to many more visits.
Next time you’re in the manager’s seat. Consider making the choice to serve your customers instead of telling them “that’s not available”.
Now I’m off to find a place where they’re willing to let me sit outside on the deck on a beautiful afternoon. Too bad they lost my business isn’t it? Don’t be them.