I recently took a moment to grab a cup of coffee and sit down at a well-known local restaurant /coffee shop while waiting to meet a coaching client.  It was in the middle of the afternoon, after the busy lunch crowd had cleared and the restaurant was empty. In fact there were only two other customers present.

While sitting down enjoying my coffee, I looked around like I usually do, to observe the ongoing behavior of workers, managers and customers. Consider me a people watcher but as many of you know, I am obsessed in evaluating the customer and employee experience no matter where I am.  I love to talk to employees, managers and business owners to discuss their work and learn more about their business.  I also enjoy complementing employees and managers on their service while making their day a little more pleasant.

However, during this particular time, I witnessed a manager sit right down next to me at another table. He proceeded to look down at his phone, swiping pass Facebook posts and emails while completely ignoring me or any of the other two customers in the restaurant.  I waited for quite a while and yet not even a quick hello or acknowledgement came my way. The manager just continued to be preoccupied by his phone. I even walked right by him to obtain a refill of coffee, with again no reaction from the manager.  

Let me ask all of you a few questions.

  1. How much time does it take to just say a quick hello to a customer?
  2. What message would a short “Thank you” from the manager mean to a customer?
  3. Did this manager take customers for granted?
  4. Was his work or time more important than acknowledging a customer?
  5. Could he not have shown a little sign of appreciation to his customers?

What would be the result or outcome for acknowledging your customers?

  • A simple “Thank you” to show your customers that you appreciate their business.
  • Striking up a short conversation with your customers means you are interested and that they are important to you.
  • When you begin to build a relationship with a customer you will create customer loyalty.
  • Discover other business opportunities such as catering a future event or meeting.
  • Finding a possible new hire with the right fit.
  • Make a new friend that will want to tell others about your business.
  • People certainly like to do business with people they like.
  • Take the opportunity to possibly suggest a friendly up-sell to a customer.
  • Invite the customer back again.
  • Provide a little extra with a sample, free cup of coffee or coupon for a future visit.

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The positive possibilities are endless yet many businesses take their existing customers for granted and then complain about the lack of business. They spend thousands of dollars on new marketing strategies, Facebook ads, discounting their normal prices or pulling their hair out trying to find the next BIG THING! Yet they never seem to take a little time to be interested in the customers they already have.

Don’t take your existing customers for granted. Treat your existing customers like they may be your last by thinking and acting like every customer counts. The fact is they do and if you take great care of your customers they will take great care of you. Don’t be like that manager in the restaurant. Take the time to say hello. It will certainly make the Customer Experience Magical!