Archive for customer service

The Power of Attention

Posted in The Soap Box with tags , , , on July 28, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I’m going to take you back to an earlier time in my life, a time before I committed to buying coffee only from local shops.

I used to stop every other day occasionally at a particular Starbucks in my town, specifically the one on Wards Road in Lynchburg. It wasn’t really in my neighborhood, but it was near some places where I shopped, and I was willing to hold out until I arrived there because of a barrista that worked there.  I’ll call him Sam.

On of the first times I saw Sam, he greeted me like an old friend. He smiled warmly and said, “Hi! How is your day going so far?”

His eyes twinkled and the corners crinkled up and he was just so adorable I had a moment of excitement thinking, is he flirting with me??  Though he’s at least ten and more likely fifteen years younger than I, I refused to back down from my belief that he might find me pretty and might also be thrilled with my un-complicated order of a venti, half-caff, peppermint, extra-hot mocha.

I smiled back and answered that my day was lovely, thank you. And then, I couldn’t stop smiling. This kid had looked me in the eyes, grinned, and spoken to me in a familiar way. He was cute and more importantly, he was polite, attentive, and friendly, and that and five dollars will buy you a…well, I’ll tell you what it will buy you.

It will buy you a customer who drives out of her way to spend too much on a cup of coffee. It will buy you a customer who tells her friends about the really nice people who work for you. It will buy you the best kind of advertising there is – personal recommendation.

I left the store that day feeling a little lighter, and way happier. I’m not a sappy type, but having someone genuinely seem interested in me was refreshing and the rest of my day was made a little better for it.

Not long ago, my teenage daughter wanted to stop there so I pulled up and let her run in. When she came out, she was grinning and her eyes were all sparkly. When she sat down beside me I said, “He was in there, wasn’t he?”

“What are you talking about?” she answered.

But I knew why she was smiling. And I smiled, too.