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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

When I visit any coffee bar or restaurant I always have a question in my mind and I believe every single customer does exactly the same thing – whether they realise it subconsciously or not. That question is:

  • Do they really want me to be here? Do they really give a s*#t that i’ve bothered to come in and give them some money?

They maybe don’t use a profanity that I use but human nature means that we just want to be loved, respected and valued – it’s simple basic stuff. Your job is to ensure that a customer does feel you “give a s*#t” when they bother to spend their hard earned money in your business.

When we were in New York we were lucky enough to stay in The Waldorf Astoria for a few days. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best example of a business “giving a s*#t” that I have ever seen. Nothing was too much trouble and wherever you turned there seemed to be somebody about to ask you if there was anything they could do to help you. When they realised it was our first time staying with them and we had travelled all the way from Ireland we were immediately upgraded to an incredible room and offered a tour of the Presidential suite (which unlike most Presidential suites actually has had Presidents staying in it!).

The sense of calm and contentment was enormous and it made it one of the most relaxing and comfortable few days of my life.

It’s easy to assume that you can’t compete at this level. That you can’t devote the same energy to training your staff that the Waldorf can. That there’s no way you can make every customer feel wanted and loved and that you really want them to be there. That you’re just too busy dealing with all the day to day “stuff” to make it all touchy-feely lovely.

But you’re wrong. These things are actually quite simple. It can be as simple as a proper, genuine smile and a hello when the customer first comes in. It can be as simple as a “I’ll be with you in a second” when the queue is long. It can be as simple as remembering a customers drink or even, best of all, remembering the customer’s name.

I can already hear people saying “well, I do all that but there’s no way that I can get all my staff to do that” As ever I say “Have you really tried?, have you actually put in place a proper training and induction program that tells you employees exactly what you expect from them? A program that helps them to properly grasp why this is necessary? Do you really train and measure these kinds of things?”

Many of my clients have and actually have seen huge benefits from it. The ones that keep working at this stuff are the ones who tell me they are seeing no difference in their sales during the supposed credit crunch. It takes a little time to set up with to begin with but is absolutely essential. Sometimes we spend far too much time training people how to make coffee and far too little actually telling them how to treat customers like a human being and prove to them that we really give a s*#t that they bothered to visit us on that day.

With money tight and credit crunching these things are more important than ever.

Interested in free one hour consultation? Every week I offer two free one hour consultations where we can deal with any aspect of your business that is causing you problems. If you’d like to get on the waiting list please email me at John@thecoffeeboys.com and briefly list out your biggest challenge. I’ll get back you as soon as possible with some potential dates.

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I’m just back from nearly three weeks in the US and spent considerable time in New York – it is, as ever, just about the most stimulating city on the planet.

I saw some amazing retailing and some inspirational restaurants but I have to say the quality of the coffee bars (that I saw anyway) wasn’t going to set the world on fire. But one of the things that Hugo and I preach endlessly is to take ideas from other industries and see how they might work in our industry and specifically in your business.

The Abercrombie and Fitch store on Fifth Avenue is the most breathtaking example of a business understanding exactly who their customers are that I think I have ever seen. And, it’s worth bearing in mind, at the age of 41 – I ain’t one of their target customers! But i still walked around in awe at what they were doing and the level of thought that had gone into it.

Basically the store is laid out and created like a nightclub. You have to queue to get in at any time of the day but this is nothing more than the classic nightclub policy of making the place look busier than it actually is. The twenty or so people queueing outside could easily be accomodated within the four floors. The queue moves very quickly. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t busy – it is. Very.

The “doormen” are model boys and girls, with one of the boys standing with his shirt off showing off a body like you might find on the front of Men’s Health. These boys and girls are so beautiful that some of the customers are asking to have their photos taken with them. Inside it’s a similar theme – lots of beautiful but extremely pleasant and friendly model boys and girls welcoming you and manning the tills. At the top of each flight of stairs there is another model waiting to greet you in a genuinely friendly fashion. The music is loud – nightclub loud and the lights are so low you really can’t even see the colours of the clothes. To someone in their forties it’s irritating and seems pointless but to an aspirational teens and twenty something it is amazing and boy were those tills working.

Have a look at their “casting video” here and you can see just how deep this concept goes. You can’t be an Abercrombie model usless you actually work in the stores. So in today’s model and fame obsessed world they must have the beautiful people lining up to work for them and perhaps taste their “fifteen minutes”. All the plain and normal customers are just lining up to buy and take away a little slice of this lifestyle. Even my wife and the wife of my friend were going in to “just have a look at the boys” – in my twenties I’d have been in every day in life to look at the girls. The only reason I wouldn’t do it now is for fear of being branded a “dirty old man” 🙂

This clearly didn’t happen by accident – there has been some incredibly detailed work going on in the background to help create this experience to support the sales of clothes.

  • How hard do you work to create a really great experience for your customers?
  • How well do you actually know exactly who your customers are or are you trying to be all things to everyone?
  • Have you really sat down and worked out how to attract great staff or are you just doing what everyone else is doing?

Food for thought.

Johnnie

Interested in free one hour consultation? Every week I offer two free one hour consultations where we can deal with any aspect of your business that is causing you problems. If you’d like to get on the waiting list please email me at John@thecoffeeboys.com and briefly list out your biggest challenge. I’ll get back you as soon as possible with some potential dates.

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