I'm Not Crying, You're Crying
My youngest daughter is in kindergarten and attends half-day school, Monday to Friday. It makes it more challenging to have a productive day when I drop my children off at school at 9am and then return to pick up my youngest daughter at noon. Thanks to technology, having a mobile office makes having a productive day possible. In fact, I am in a coffee shop as I write this.
I have been to this coffee shop, but it has been about 15 years! It is a great little coffee shop nestled in an older residential neighbourhood. I love the atmosphere, but since I have taken my seat and started sipping on my first coffee today, my eyes have filled with tears. However, these were not tears of sadness nor tears of joy. I think they were cutting up onions in the back, and the “mist” filled the air. I began to think about first impressions as it has been so long since I have visited this cafe.
We must think like a customer—developing solutions to problems that exist.
A couple weeks ago, my daily search for a suitable coffee shop to work at landed me in a coffee shop that a friend told me about. I arrived and walked through the doors gazing around for wall plugs. Without wall plugs, my visit would be brief as my laptop would maybe last an hour with just the battery. I glance to my left and see a door propped open by an older gentleman waiting for a small child to finish drying off his hands with a paper towel.
I stepped up to the front counter with one customer in front of me. My eyes looked right, and to my horror, like the outline of a dead body, lay a large amount of vomit. The immediate connection to the child in the bathroom helped me connect the dots. What do I do? I was expecting a staff member to be there cleaning up the mess, but they seemed to continue with business as usual. I made for the door to find another coffee shop for the day.
I have four children and understand that vomit happens. However, I really felt for the gentleman caring for the child. This was my first impression of this cafe, and though they had little to do with the sick child incident, the cleanup probably should have taken precedence over serving the next latte. I have since visited this cafe and am happy to report that the mess was cleaned up. 🙂 It is a great little coffee shop, as my friend mentioned, but it made me think about first impressions.
As business owners, what are we doing to ensure all customers have an experience that will make them return or tell their friends? First, we must think like a customer, dissecting our service methods and developing solutions to existing problems. It is said, “Prevention is the best medicine,” and finding potential problems before they occur will save time and money in the long run.