Yesterday I had the rare pleasure of taking a trip to the Charlotte Premium Outlets for lunch. Since the trip called for me to pass by my brother’s home I decided to pick him up on the way. During our drive to the Outlets, we shared the usual stories of successful friends who took their leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship. Upon arriving at our destination, I only had two objectives to complete:
- Buy a nice scent for my wife since our anniversary was approaching
- Take a lap around the outlets to get some steps in
Little did I know that I would be leaving the outlets with a third objective to complete:
3. Write an article on customer service
We Only Serve Bottled Water
After completing the first task of our Outlet trip my brother and I was ready to take a lap around the outdoor mall for exercise. During our walk I got thirsty and decided to stop into an Auntie Ann’s Pretzel shop for a small cup of water.
It’s important to note, at least in my opinion, that the place was empty besides the attendants and I was looking at the menu while addressing the cashier (a clear sign of a customer leaning towards purchasing something other than water)
Me: Excuse me, I was wondering if I could have a cup of water?
I usually ask for a cup of water from an establishment for the following reasons:
- A cup of water is usually complementary as long as you’re not being a jerk or asking for a specialized order such as little ice or lemon.
- Typically the water you’re receiving is coming from a faucet from the prep area or a pitcher full of watch that, you guess it, came from the faucet anyway.
Auntie Ann: I’m sorry but we only serve bottled water.
Of course an Aunt named Ann wasn’t standing in front of me denying me the opportunity to quench my thirst but she might as well have been. The attendant working behind the counter is an extension of the brand and a representative of the establishment I’m patronizing.
So instead of a fuss or attitude I leave Auntie Ann’s with the intention of waiting until I get home for water.
What Size Water Do You Want?
On the way back to the car I noticed a Starbucks Kiosk that for some reason I decide to stop and ask:
Me: Excuse me, but may I have a cup of water?
Mind you, I’m in the position where I’m willing to pay for a cup since a unreasonable standard has be placed on faucet water.
Starbucks: Well sure, what size cup would you like?
Me: Just a small cup, the smallest you have.
Reaching for my wallet I started to think, I can’t believe I’m about to pay for faucet water. However to my surprise the attendant called my name to pick up my cup and there was no charge.
We are all in the business to be successful, to build a better version of ourselves or business. It’s important to realize that we can’t build anything without the support of our customers. Sometimes supporting our customers means supplying a high quality product at a premium rate. It may also mean giving a cup of water to win a customer for life.
Starbucks customer service has won me over