We have great ones, good ones and some that could use some improvement. I am not talking about our relationships with a boss, spouse, co-worker or sibling, I am talking about the relationships we have with our weekly stops at our shops during our week.
We love our grocery store because everyone knows our name, yet our coffee shop is driving us mad because they can’t seem to brew our favorite beverage fast enough (especially when the person in front of you ordered a drink with the cocoa swirl and cherry on top).
What separates the good from the not so good? What helps to build brand loyalty that lasts?
Stewarding the customer relationship well. Or in other words, managing the customer relationship better than the rest.
Recently, a well known coffee shop opened up a new location near my house. Leading up to the grand opening, many in the neighborhood, including myself, were excited.
This store would feature more square footage with a better environment to meet friends or colleagues. It would provide a drive-thru and better parking. It would also offer an evening menu that included specialty gnosh and wine for those who enjoy those pairings.
I was fired up to make it my “home away from home”. I drove by it many times while under construction and asked around about its opening from neighboring businesses! I didn’t pray about it; however, I should have.
It’s downright awful. The staff there, while I am sure are nice people, are failing at stewarding the customer relationship well.
The WiFi is slow (my iPhone LTE is faster). The drive-thru is continually backed up. They tables are not cleaned. The napkins are not replenished for hours and worse of all, the drip coffee can take up to 5 minutes.
I am not normally complimented on being the most patient, but as the ESPN football analysts say, “C’mon man!”
It seems like the coffeehouse staff is lacking leadership. They are not interested in making a connection with me or others in my extended family. The lines are terribly long and staff members look lost.
It pains me because I want this to be my “hang out” place to enjoy jazz, write or have a coffee date with my wife! They are not stewarding their relationship with their customers, including me, well.
When we make stewarding the customer relationship a top priority, we leave the kind of legacy that lasts.
In today’s competitive landscape, you also may have witnessed this at many of your local stops in your jaunts around town. We can change this in our own businesses, organizations, sales team or church volunteer teams.
In the next post, I will provide three ways to steward the customer relationship well through an illustration of the same coffee company but with a different shop location.
When you apply these to your life and interactions daily, you will grow your brand loyalty and leadership influence.
Have you been disgruntled with a recent customer service experience? What caused the reaction?