Start Up Blog

Good service? Prove it

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 3, 2011

Yesterday I went to a well known cafe in Melbourne for breakfast. Yes, it had a amazing the decor of a restored warehouse and exotic free range egg combinations, but that wasn’t what impressed me. It was the way they served their ‘non-customers’.

By the time we where half way through our second java a line had started to build for people waiting for a table, which is pretty rare in a cafe centric city like Melbourne. Up until that time the thriving restaurant still had amazingly quick service. But the service I was most impressed with was the service they gave those who weren’t even customers. People waiting patiently outside were treated to complimentary cafe lattes and flat whites. I’m sure they were surprised and delighted at the good will gesture. The tone of the staff there also told me that they gave them coffee because they were genuinely sorry they couldn’t seat them immediately. They meant it, and it wasn’t a promotional ploy. Something we’d never see from a chains store or large corporate. They’d be more concerned with wooing ‘non-customers’ that rewarding their ‘sure bets’. I say they’ve got it back to front.

The reality of the complimentary coffee is that it sent out a good vibe, and cost very little to do. And the benefits? Well I’m already blogging about it and put it on my twitter stream which goes to many thousands. I’d also say that rewarding those you’ve already got, is a far better investment than investing in those who’ve never helped your business. Something all startups should take note of.

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6 Responses

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  1. Abhimanyu said, on April 4, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Little confused. Did you mean that you are impressed by the manner in which they served the ‘non customers’ but you do not think its a good practice to invest in them as opposed to ‘sure bets’…especially for start ups??

    • Steve Sammartino said, on April 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      I’m just saying that – big companies often invest all their money in chasing people far from their actual support base – like they do with mass sampling potential customers. They ignore people ready and willing, or say – why invest in the ‘loyals?’

      The point is it was awesome – and the attitude we should embrace.

  2. Ryan Spanger said, on April 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Sounds great. Hope they keep it up.

    It’s a common strategy for newly established businesses to overdeliver as a short-term strategy to win market share. As the business becomes more established it can often tend to revert to a more generic approach to customer service.

    Not saying that applies to this particular business. Just a general comment.

    I think the key is to build this type of ‘overdelivery’ into an articulated and deliberate long term customer service strategy.

  3. logbennett said, on April 5, 2011 at 3:25 am

    Awesome! I love when companies have really good customer service, and I agree with you it isn’t very often that large companies do this, simply because they have enough money that they don’t have to. Such a good example of what service is all about!

    The Green Guerilla

  4. Belinda said, on April 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    That is amazing customer service and it is bound to build loyal customers because they feel loved and appreciated. Thats how everyone wants to feel. :)

  5. Leon Sammartino said, on April 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Perhaps this is why there is line out the front, when there are at least six cafes within a 3 minute walk of the Auction Rooms.

    Having said that I often see the line from a distance, and think ‘Too busy’ and go somewhere else, If only I’d known that if you hang around for long enough i’d get a free coffee, might almost have been worth the wait


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