I’ve been to the majority of these places, and had decent coffee at all of them. Four out of five mornings, I stop at the same one. The one time I don’t, it is usually because I need gas, and I don’t want to stop twice. How did the one business win my business?
They offer better service than the others. It’s that simple. When I drive up to order, they do not interrupt, and say, “Anything else?” while I’m halfway through my order. They let me finish talking. When i have completed my order, they repeat back the entire order, tell me the price, and ask me to pull up, please. When I arrive at the service window, they acknowledge my existence, even if my order is not ready yet. More times than not, the order is completed quickly. When it is taking a little longer, they tell me it will be a minute. Then, I am on my way, with a “Have a nice day!”
Did any of this sound like phenomenal service? If you look at it on the whole, they did nothing that I would consider above and beyond. They let me order without interruption. They were courteous. That’s really it. Does that mean that the other places offer bad service? I believe it depends on your definition of “Bad”.
To me, “Bad” service is any that leaves a bad impression. If you do not let me finish my sentence when I’m talking, I feel like you’re not listening to anything I’m saying. If I drive up to the service window, and you look like you are avoiding me until the order is complete, you make me feel as though I am a leper. If you hand me my coffee and my change, and say, “Thanks” as the window is closing, I feel like I’m the one that provided you a service, not the other way around. You don’t have to spit in my coffee for it to be bad service. You don’t even have to be overtly rude for it to be bad service.
This is good news for small start-up businesses. You don’t have to be a superhero. You don’t have to be the most innovative, and re-create the wheel. You simply have to make sure that your level of service is better than your competition’s service.
I’m waiting for the phone call from the coffee shop willing to advertise, “We’ll let you finish talking before we ask, ‘Anything Else?’”