Getting Personal (with the sissy coffee)

Getting Personal (with the sissy coffee) by Dwayne Castle

I typically drink my coffee black. But if I have breakfast out with my wife, I will always hear her ask what is to her the most pertinent of questions- "Do you have flavored creamer?" She asks every single time. Sometimes she gets a positive response, but usually she gets a big nope.

However, we were recently having breakfast at one of our local area diners when she asked again. Instead of the no she has grown accustomed to, we witnessed a very cool thing that perfectly highlights The Relationally Driven Experience.

We were told that this particular place doesn't serve the flavored sweetness that helps her get the most joy out of her hot caffeinated goodness. But, the waitresses brought to the table a large bottle of her own personal stash of french vanilla and shared it with my wife.

To say that Deborah was tickled is an understatement. She still talks about it and shares the story with friends. That's how impressed she was with it and I was impressed enough to write this post about the moment, because it is such an uncommon occurrence.  

I am not going to tell you which restaurant this was or which server because I know human nature will cause an unreasonable demand on this ladies limited supply of creamer. However, wink wink, I will tell you that the Bucyrus Diner in Bucyrus, Ohio has demonstrated to me time and again that they place a premium on delivering quality personal service to their customers. 

My brother, a frequent customer, receives his sweet tea with lemon before he has even ordered. They have gotten to know him over time. Through these types of actions, they have demonstrated that theirs is a business that thrives on building relationships.  

As the servers take turns bringing the coffee carafes around to happily fill up any half empty mugs, they remember that I switched mid-meal from high-test to decaf.  It's important enough to me to have asked so they demonstrated that it is important to them. It matters so much to the server that she shared the information with the others to make sure there were no mix-ups. More proof that they are relationally driven.

If you are responsible for a small business, here are a few customer service tips that will help you increase customer satisfaction, employee morale, and your bottom line.

  1. Jump at the chance to meet your customers' needs. Get creative. A nickle's worth of her own personal property generated enough of a return on her investment that we have returned multiple times. Imagine what could happen in your own business (and personal life) if you made a lifestyle of these behaviors. You can't really go wrong putting others first, I promise. (read more about that thought here.)
  2. Express joy! When you are serving others it is counterproductive to do so grudgingly. Let those you are serving know that they are the entire reason for you showing up today. When you demonstrate a sincere happiness at serving others, people want to be near you and I don't need to spell out for you why that is good for business. (check out this post on putting your best face forward.)
  3.  Get to know your customers. I go to a coffee shop multiple times a week because it is very conducive to my work. Cheap coffee with free refills, free wifi, and only about 15 minutes from my home. Some of the servers banter with me which keeps me coming back. The others who wait on me week after week and act as if they have never seen me before make me wonder how many potential long term relationships have been lost for this business. Customers are people and most people need to know they matter. You have a golden opportunity to help meet that need.

These are just some of the things you can do to win over long term repeat business. What are some ways that you get personal with your customers? In what uniquely personal ways have you been impressed by a customer experience? I'd love to get your thoughts on this post. Please comment with your thoughts. I'd love it if you would like my post & share with others you feel may benefit from the conversation.

If you would like to know more about me and my services, please click this link to go to my services page. I'd love the opportunity to help you grow your small business.