What a simple, brilliant idea

The other day my friend and I went to our usual coffee shop for a good catch-up, delicious coffee, yummy cakes and friendly yet unobtrusive staff. My kinda place. However, as we walked in this time, you could practically cut the atmosphere with a knife. It was like a fug. And it was all down to one person – the new manager. Shouting orders to staff, chastising them in front of everyone, stomping around hands on hip; short and abrupt with the customers. Quite alarming really. He was simply a bully to his staff, with appalling customer service. We shall never return.

In every career I have had, offering great service has been paramount and I brought everything learnt over the years to Merrow Savouries. The letters and emails of grateful thanks of not only our food, but also our great service are some of my most treasured possessions and are kept in a big box with a red ribbon. If I ever need a little joy adding to my day – I simply open the box and re-read some of them.

In fact, perhaps we should feel sorry for people who offer bad service – their life must be pretty miserable, not enjoying their work, always grunting, huffing and grimacing, with customers complaining. Not much fun eh? And no red ribbon to untie.

But there are happier stories..

Apart from other things, my father had antique shops. He always offered his customers a mug of fresh coffee and an endless supply of custard creams, whilst they browsed with absolutely no pressure whatsoever to purchase. He just enjoyed chatting and sharing his passion for antiques. The fact customers often bought from him was almost incidental as he was happy in his work, his prices were most fair and his endless knowledge and the service he offered were greatly sought after. People visited his shops from all over the world. His reputation preceded him – and this was way before social media and the internet. And he always rang to say if he was running late for an appointment – even it was going to be a few minutes.

When having our carpet fitted –the fitter said there was a perfect piece left over to make a rug, by hemming the edges – which he offered to do with no charge! Guess who we will use again?

The beautiful but highly fragile item I ordered online came so expertly packaged it was almost a shame to unwrap it. I shall certainly purchase from them again.

Or how about the catering company from whom I ordered 144 white china mugs but 2 arrived broken. With genuine apologies they credited me for 12 mugs (12 not 2 as they came in boxes of 12!) and sent another 12, not 2! The next day. That is why they are my first choice –faultless service

And finally, to prove how important it is to offer good service or a friendly gesture … the elderly gentleman in front of me at the checkout said ‘I am in no hurry – please go in front of me’. I thanked him and said ‘Hopefully someone will do that for you one day’. His reply…’Someone already has, that is why I am doing it now’.

It is so true, a smile, an act of gentle unobtrusive kindness or service can really make someone’s day. And who knows it may just catch on.


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