“Good morning Elizabeth,” says the man at coffee stand. “The usual?”
“Yes, please,” I say. I fiddle with my purse trying to find the correct change. I apologize, but I don’t have enough cash. “I’ll just go straight to the cash machine.”
I leave the counter and walk across the street to the nearest cashpoint. When I return, my large skinny skinny latte with one teaspoon of sugar is still on the counter. I give the barista a note and he gives me back a fistful. He stamps my loyalty cards. He gives me four more coffees before I get my free one.
The whole exchange was very positive. It is a pleasure to know that he knows my name as well as my order. As I make my way to work, I don’t notice any of the people in the streets. Because someone cared, my coffee tastes better. My day begins well.
I stop by a sports shop on my way home from work to pick up some shoelaces. The laces packets are hung behind the counter.
“I would like some brown boot laces, please,” I ask the assistant.
He grunts and points to a package of rainbow-coloured laces.
“No, brown ones. “Across a bit.”
He points to a second packet, which contains black shoelaces.
“No, the next ones are better. They are the ones that have boot laces on them and are brown.
Finally, he points at the correct packet. “Yes, those are.”
I get so frustrated when he finally picks the right product, rings me up and tells me the price. He should be familiar with his products, I believe. He should listen to customers. I can think back to all the times I have received poor service at the bank, the gym, or from an insurance agent. I am tired of the tube being crowded and feel irritated on my way home.
Are you the barista, or the shop assistant when you deal with project customers or stakeholders?