There's a 'common' theme!

Over the summer we were asked to judge the inaugural Louth Town Business Awards.  We were asked to mystery shop the nominees in the Customer Service category and then select an overall winner from that and the winners of the other categories.

So armed with my comment sheets, off I went one sunny Wednesday afternoon to do my ‘mystery shopping’.

I was quite shocked at the complete contrasts in customer service provided – or most noticeably – the lack of it.  I had two coffee shops to judge, the first was good.  Immediate greeting on entering, good eye contact, lots of chatter with customers.  Even thanking each and every customer for their business as they left the small bustling café. 

The second couldn’t have been more different.  The counter was at the rear of quite a long shop.  There were lots of staff around and about but even when I placed my order, other than telling me the cost, not one of them spoke to me.  The coffee was subsequently brought to me and deposited on the table.  No utterance, no eye contact, no anything.  Because the staff were so far from the door it was impossible to thank customers as they left.  Not that most of the staff even seemed to notice that they’d got up and gone anyway.

I sat in the window and observed quite a large café with absolutely no atmosphere.  It reminded me of sitting in a busy bus or train station café.  No interest and no interaction just lots of individuals waiting to go somewhere else.  It felt soul less.

I often walk past and notice that it doesn’t appear to be very busy.  Now I know why.

I have no particular experience in retail, and quite understand it is its own specialism but sometimes it’s not about anything other than common courtesy.
  • Speaking to your customers;
  • getting eye contact;
  • thanking them for their custom;
  • wishing them a pleasant day – and being sincere with it, and 
  • treating your customers like you would like to be treated – like they are appreciated.
I know which coffee shop I frequent and recommend now – so ‘common’ courtesy clearly puts money in the till!