Friday, October 7, 2011

David & Goliath: A small coffee shop teaches the big corporation a lesson.

A coffee shop: Business model to follow?
Could a small coffee shop show you the business model you should follow to develop your own company, grow it and maintain loyalty-based relationships with your customers?, could this little coffee shop be a model for you to follow and promote your products and services?

I’d like to share with an experience me and some coworkers recently had. We do gather every day for early morning breakfast at the same place, around the same time, as usual. I order half “serrano” ham and cheese toast, and peach juice for me.

Sometimes I am for a different taste and choose apple juice instead, or change “serrano” ham for “York”, nothing out of this world. Since I already know how much I pay every time I have breakfast there, I don’t even bother to ask. I pay the attendant and wait for the change. Since we have a nice relationship and see each other every single day, I suppose the change she gives me back is correct and don’t even check it before putting it on directly on my pocket.

One day, Carola, the attendant comes to me and asks: “Joel, how do you want me to fix your everyday order today? “. It was really funny and, at the same time, truly instructive. Not only she knew what I ordered every single day but also the fact that within the last few days I have been changing my mind asking like “Bring me the usual but with York and fresh cheese” for instance.

And I have to say instructive, because for me as the customer, it made me feel really well attended and showed me that such feeling I don’t have when doing business with most of the bigger corporations. And it’s a feeling I share with my coworkers every day we gather there for breakfast. It meant for me a smashing proof on how the relationship with a customer must be based on mutual interest, benefit and trust. But let’s not to stop there, because it get’s better.

During summer break, our coffee shop what closed for the holidays, as usual, and those who used to get together there needed to “relocate” to a nearby place for breakfast. It was impressive to feel during those day we had to go to “the competitor” how “we were missing” the service quality and personal attention we used to be offered on our every-day coffee shop.

Caution: I’m not exaggerating. The feeling was “I miss you”, neither more nor less. We asked ourselves when were they going to be open again, when were they coming back from their holidays, we even came to complain about having to go to the other place for breakfast!

When they came back after vacation, we gathered there again, in our respective seats, waiting for them to take care of us as usual, to remember what we used to order regularly.

Isn’t this the kind of relationship you, as a business owner, wants to develop with your customers? Having your customers missing your services when they aren’t readily available, having your customer wishing to go back and shop at your place or store, because he feels so spoiled that he doesn’t even worry about your prices being higher than your competitor’s. Wouldn’t this be a very valuable element within your marketing strategy? Isn’t it what you would like to achieve with your newest campaigns, even more with the environment being what it is?

Nowadays we can check how big and small companies are investing huge amounts of money in developing strategies and actions to develop with their customers business relationships with the same characteristics: long lasting, based on mutual loyalty and confidence.

It’s here where big corporations need to learn from small businesses, from the store around the corner, the little coffee shop in which the owner knows exactly what every customer orders, or the hair saloon in which the stylist knows your wife likes her hair a bit shorter here, longer there and not so dark on the tips.

This is the kind of relationship you should try to develop with your customers, with your integrated marketing plan, not only on social media, but in all your promotional efforts. The relationship in which your customers become the center of your attention, of your efforts, and his satisfaction is the goal to achieve.

Is this the way you are focusing your marketing efforts? Is the “coffee shop model” one that could serve you to change directions and develop more profit for your business? What do you think?

Related post: Already bought your product, now what?

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