Perception is everything – however you must deliver

TeaI recently treated myself to a breakfast out. It had been a good week professionally and personally, so why not? I arrived at the café – beautifully lit with a few people but not too crowded – ordered my breakfast and a cup of tea.

I took my number and sat down. The friendly waitress brought me some water and a clean glass, very nice!

And then the tea arrived…….

Now, I am a tea snob – I know it and I proudly own up to it. My kitchen boasts hundreds of different tea bags and anything taxing in my life is made better with a cup of tea. I am a proud VIP of T2 and even my children know that to get on my good side, you just need to make me a good, hot cup of half English Breakfast/half Earl Grey tea leaf blend and everything is wonderful with the world again.

But this tea was not wonderful. It arrived with a nice teapot but with the milk caddy INSIDE the cup (my pet peeve). OK, it’s OK, I thought, just let the tea brew and let the milk thing go.

I go to pour the tea and my world is completely upended at the discover of a TEABAG inside the teacup and merely hot water in the pot! All my tea dreams have been shattered……OK maybe a little on the melodramatic side, but in the lovely little tea pot sits only hot water, ready to be poured over a commercial, substandard bag of EB leaves. Not happy!

A few minutes later, my breakfast arrived. It was the most amazingly yummy breakfast I have had in some time and it really was very delicious.

But will I return to this café for breakfast anytime soon?

No.

Why?

Because they did not deliver on their promise to me, the customer, after advertising their tea as ‘nice’ and ‘brewed’.

Yes, I am a tea snob, but I enjoy a fresh cup of tea and I paid for more than a pot of hot water and a tea bag. The tea was important to me in this instance and my customer experience was severely diminished and any other positives from the occasion were overshadowed by the small matter of the tea.

But small things matter – a lesson learnt by this business, now they have lost a customer.

BusinessWhat small things are you overlooking in your business?

Is it something so small you could consider it insignificant, but it is fundamentally affecting your bottom line?

In today’s business world, we have lost the art of ‘clever’, over making profits and attracting big numbers, whether it be to our establishments or to our online platforms. We have lost the simplicity in asking for customer feedback, giving our customers solutions to simple problems and recognising that the customer is always right.

The best way to keep, grow and improve your business is by talking to, and LISTENING to, your customers.

Something as small as changing from fresh tea leaves to commercial tea bags has lost this particular café who knows how many clients in what is probably a bid to cut costs at the expense of the customers simple, small delights. Disappointing yet far to common place in today’s business world.