Credit where its due. This experience deserves a pat on the back.

I realise this Blog follows hard behind my last, but you can’t dictate when the need arises!

Yesterday my wife and I visited Shapes, a fine arts and furniture shop in Sighthill, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. We went for two reasons, looking for a picture to fit over the fireplace and because Shapes is a wonderland of furniture, beautifully presented, as well as an auction rooms. As we were about to leave a young member of staff asked if we needed any help. We said we were looking for a painting, and despite “viewing” being only the next day the young man offered to show us the auction rooms and any paintings they had. Now, you’ve seen the photo, and bare in mind we had just come from walking the dog in wind and rain - so it would difficult to picture us as big buyers. The young man was enthusiastic about the auctions, the shop and then proceeded to show us their restaurant adjoining the shop. He left us there and we decided to have coffee there rather than our local garden centre. When I went to pay for the coffee and biscuits I was told it was “on the House”, arranged by our guide.

The other side of this coin is that our local Garden centre has just stopped giving its “members” two free coffees a month and instead has introduced a system where purchases earn points which can, eventually, be translated into a free coffee. We all know the true cost of a free coffee, its pennies, and anyway, who has just a coffee – you buy the scone or cake don’t you, so really theres no loss at all.

And the moral of this story is what?

Its worth taking time with customers – Disney ask their staff to “talk” to their guests at least 6 times during each shift – and don’t be mean with the free coffee. The modest value will be more than made up by a satisfied customer. This isn’t rocket science and yet too often suppliers and providers don’t grasp it. Its the investment that seems to scare the provider, and yet a really modest investment, whether its time or coffee, will pay dividends. I’m going back to Shapes and less to the Garden Centre!

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