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.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com