Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Customer service....

There are so many people who do not realize the value of customer service, or just being friendly. It does matter! Here is an example: I LOVE Coffee, and I LOVE coffee shops. I collect Coffee mugs. Not the little regular mugs that can be gotten anywhere, but the BIG ones - kinda like soup mugs. I have lots of them, different sizes, colors, shapes. So when I see or hear of a new coffee shop opening, I like to go and check it out. I will give 3 examples for this post.

The first one I went to was a little on the uppity side. The decor was fabulous, if a little too ritzy, but it was really nice inside. The service? Ugh. No smile, no friendliness, nothing. Just "Can I help you?" and then the total, and then "They will call X number when your order is ready, it can be picked up over there (points down the counter)." OK. The ceiling is tiles, but not normal tiles - these are a copper tile with a design in them. It is really beautiful. They have a fire place and a leather couch in front of it, with a few chairs around too. And they have tables and chairs, some "high" and some regular. Overall? The interior was great, the coffee was great, and the service was blah. How many times have I been there? ONCE.

The second one I went to just opened down the street from where I work. I was on my way in one day and noticed it. I stopped to try it out. It is attached to another business, so it is just a little small piece of a building. No biggie. I go in and they have decent decorations. Most of it is, of course, coffee oriented. Coffee for sale, square shelves with coffee knick-knacks. Cute, quaint. I wasn't sure what I wanted so I was looking at the menu. The person taking my order was not helpful in any way, no suggestions. When I asked questions, just hum drum answers. Nothing special to stand out. The coffee was pretty good. Overall? The interior was OK, the coffee was good, and the service was, once again, blah. How many times have I been there? ONCE.

The third one I absolutely LOVE. My boss came back from a break one day with a frozen coffee. I asked him where he got it, and he told me. I had no idea that the place was there, but now I had to check it out. That very day, I stopped by after work. They close at 5PM on that particular weekday, but there was someone outside on the patio, cleaning up. He asked if I would like something. I told him I would come back another time, that I didn't realize they were closed. He assured me that it wasn't a problem, and convinced me to come in and he would get me whatever I wanted. He was one of the owners of this coffee shop, and when I wasn't sure what I wanted to try, he made suggestions. I went with one of his suggestions, and loved it. He talked to me for a few minutes, then I left. The decor? Fabulous. Paintings on the wall, painted by a local artist. Some for sale, some permanently attached. Pictures, too, that he had taken with a camera and framed. A couch and some chairs, separated by a coffee table with magazines on it. A few "regular" tables, with chairs to choose from also. The chairs have colorful cushions on them, some chairs square, some round. They also have Wi-Fi - wireless internet access for those people who want to bring their laptops in and hang out. Overall? The interior is WONDERFUL, the coffee is GREAT, and the service is TOP NOTCH. How many times have I been there? So many times I have lost count. I have gone almost EVERY weekday on my way to work since that day (May, 2005, I believe), and sometimes on the weekends, too.

I know most of the employees by name, as well as both owners, and they all know mine. Do you know how nice it is to walk into, or drive upto, a shop and have the person behind the counter say "Good morning , how are you doing today?" and they actually sound sincere? And "Do you want your usual, or do you want to try something else today?" Some days I just get coffee, sometimes I get a muffin or a brownie, or even a cookie. But anyway you look at it, their friendly service is what keeps me going back, day after day.

Neil and Jay are the owners. Neil is British and has an accent. He is the one who works in the mornings, so we see him the most. Jay works mostly evenings, sometimes comes in during the day, too, though. Jay is the one who was working on my first visit. And there is Jeff - who also works at a local theater. He is very friendly and has an excellent greeting when you go through the drive through. He sounds like he should be on the radio, or an anouncer of sorts. And there is Mary Jane - who works the night shift as a nurse and then comes into work at the coffee shop after her shift. Mary Jane is a wonderfully nice woman who simply adores Conor. She gave him glow sticks for Halloween so that he could "shine". When she is not there, Conor often asks me where she's at.

Most of the night shift people I do not know as well, I only know one of them by name - Shellie. She is a teacher at a local high school and just works at the coffee shop for fun. Only 1 night a week during school, and more in the summer. There is also a new guy working nights, but I have only met him a couple of times and I don't remember his name. He was still training and seemed a little nervous.

They know my family's names - Conor goes in with me every day and they adore him. He sits up on the counter and they talk to him, ask him questions, even give him some gifts. He loves going there.

They ask about Jeff, Allie and Ceara if it has been a while since they have seen any of them.

So how hard would have been for either of the other 2 places to just smile, or offer suggestions, or just be a little more friendly?? It would not have been that hard. And what would they have gotten out of it? A regular customer.

So - for those of you in the area - if you like coffee, give them a try. Cafe-a-go-go in Springboro, OH. Across from Hollywood Video. Tell them Katie and Conor sent you. :)

Appreciate your customers and they will appreciate you!


Barb said...

Wow! you are tempting me to go there.....and I don't even like coffee!! hmmmmmm.

Mimi said...

It's always nice to start the day with a smile and a good cup of joe.