Customer Relations Lessons from the Bagel Men
For years, I’ve frequented a particular bagel café. It’s part of a national chain. The bagels are terrific, and so is the French roast coffee. This café is within a couple of miles of several other coffee shops and bagel bakers. All serve decent food and drink. Their prices are about the same, too.
But I especially enjoyed my shopping experience at this favorite café because of the manager. He was always there (or seemed to be), working as hard as his employees and, more importantly, he had a winning demeanor. He was friendly, pleasant and interested in helping customers.
He smiled. He said thank you. It was always nice dealing with him.
Yesterday I went in for my whole-wheat bagel and coffee fix. A new manager was there. Evidently, the former manager was promoted and moved elsewhere.
This guy was the opposite of customer friendly. He was gruff. Never smiled. Didn’t say thanks. Practically threw the bagel into a bag and tossed it to me over the Plexiglas barrier. The younger man working the cash register was just as sour.
My food tasted as good—don’t get me wrong—but the experience disheartened me. Personally, I like frequenting local shops and getting to know the owners and employees. I like being "a regular." Until the café replaced the boss with Crabby Appleton, I didn’t realize how highly I valued the treatment I got.
Here’s my point: most printing companies are privately owned businesses. The boss is often on site. Your customers have lots of choices when it comes to printing. Unless you produce something that they can’t buy anywhere else, you have to find ways to wow them. It need not cost a ton or take months to implement.
Take a lesson from my bagel man and make their “shopping” experience as pleasant and as memorable as you can. Customers still visit print facilities for press checks or plant tours. Don’t blow it.
Print bosses of the world, listen up! It’s so simple, I feel embarrassed writing about it, but what the heck. When clients visit:
• Show your face.
• Be happy to see and greet your customers.
• Introduce yourself and inquire as to how you may help them.
• Make an effort to learn something about their business (needs).
What a difference an attitude makes. Let it carry through to all of your customer interactions. It won’t cost a cent, but may make you a ton of dough.
I am already scouting out a new favorite bagel café.