Last week, a friend and I were engaged in a conversation after a long anticipated wait for a table at a new-ish coffee spot in the burbs of Melbourne.
Now, I don’t normally trek that far away to find decent coffee, I know my sources, stick to them and enjoy them as they are. But this time, I was up for a challenge, and could no longer fight the rave reviews of this new little hot spot.
So open mind, empty cup and a sure a 25 minute wait (not necessarily a bad thing), we sat down.
The context was minimal and warming; the staff polite enough and the coffee? Fantastic, fresh and accompanied with swift delivery.
And there seems to usually be a ‘but’ lately.
The ambience took a plunge; the sound around us seemed to drop to a silent whisper as the waitress abruptly requested for the two women sitting adjacent to leave.
“Can you please clear up your bill and leave, we have got customers waiting for this table and you’ve had it long enough.”
And as she snatched the cash from the unwilling and embarrassed patron, she flicked her neck towards us and said, “We don’t usually ask our customers to leave, its just they’ve been there for 2.5hours on 2 coffees. You know?”
No. I don’t know.
Are we all on a timer here?
Now I have done my fair share of customer service, worked in a few cafes around the city. Never have I seen this form of customer service. I mean, we’ve all seen the soup Nazi on Seinfeld and laughed, but this was just plain ‘real life’ ignominy.
Which draws me back to a point Seth Godin makes about value of customer service:
“If you treat a customer like he’s wrong, he’s going to leave, and probably tell a bunch of other people.”
Calling new businesses.
One irrefutable way to market yourself is by word of mouth.
People trust personal experience. If my friends tell me it was a good coffee, I’ll bank on that, they tell me it was a horrible experience – I won’t waste a minute of my time. And I’ll be sure to pass that on for them as well.
Basic knowledge. These women were offended. Hell, I was offended. And they sure as hell won’t be returning with friends anytime soon.
And for those of you still unsure about the value of customer service?
Please. Do us all a favour and look at this.