It’s the small things that count, Jack!

The thing I love — er, loved — about my local Starbucks (the one with the drive-through in Herndon, VA) is they have a big ‘ol table, meant for four, sitting off in a solitary corner. When I get the urge to write, I hop in the gas-guzzling SUV, drive over to the ‘Bucks, and sit down at the big table in the lonely corner. I pull out my beautiful and functional iBook, spread out a few books, some papers, my cell phone (turned off, people who let cell phones ring and/or talk on them inside of a Starbucks and/or restaurant deserve long, hard torture) … and get to work.

I had a nightmare once where I woke up and someone had moved my entire home and office around, and I couldn’t find anything I wanted. It felt alien.

Three weeks ago, I walked into my Starbucks and my nightmare became reality as someone moved my big table away from the lonely corner, replacing it with two little tables that only had enough room for my laptop and nothing else.

Something clearly had to be done.

First, I dropped nice hints. Things like, “gee, what doofus moved my favorite table from my favorite corner?”

A week went by and I was visiting the ‘Bucks less and less, and staying to do work hardly at all.

More drastic measures were needed, so I appealed to greed.

“Ya know, when I stayed here to work, when I had my table free to spread out on in my lonely corner, I spent $10-12 a day here. Now, I only spend a few dollars. Are you noticing your tips getting any lighter?”

Another week past and … nothing. I finally resorted to guilting one of the baristas. Every time I walked in I hassled him until he moved things back. Alas, the nightmare has ended.

Now, just in case you think I’ve been rambling just to stretch my fingers, there IS a lesson here. It’s this:

“Many small businesses have no idea what the ‘little things’ are that keep their customers coming back. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, those ‘little things’ are changed or taken away. This CAN be a good thing, where the customers you gain more than make up for ones you lose. But you’d better KNOW, which means you need to pay attention. And you need to ask your customers, all the time, what they like, what they don’t like, and how you can make things better.***”

*** One of my favorite questions to have clients ask their customers is: “What would I have to do to make it impossible for you not to brag about [business name] to your friends and colleagues?” (That’s a damned good question, if I do say so myself.)

Anyway … I’m off to Starbucks.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous April 23, 2008 at 6:05 am

Yeah Jack! Take the road Jack, and never come again, no more, no more, no more smile

Reply

2 Anonymous April 23, 2008 at 11:05 am

Yeah Jack! Take the road Jack, and never come again, no more, no more, no more

Reply

3 Anonymous January 13, 2005 at 12:01 pm

Another Starbucks Guy,

So your the guy who hogs my table when the baristas forget to put up the velvet ropes and “reserved for Michael” sign…!

Michael
——-

Reply

4 Anonymous January 13, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Another Starbucks Guy,
So your the guy who hogs my table when the baristas forget to put up the velvet ropes and “reserved for Michael” sign…!
Michael——-

Reply

5 Anonymous January 13, 2005 at 10:01 am

Link-O-Rama #2
I normally don’t do Link-O-Rama posts so close together (see last week’s here) but there have been many great posts this week. I am getting stressed just having all these to share. It’s bad aggregator Feng Shui to have so

Reply

6 Anonymous January 13, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Link-O-Rama #2
I normally don’t do Link-O-Rama posts so close together (see last week’s here) but there have been many great posts this week. I am getting stressed just having all these to share. It’s bad aggregator Feng Shui to have so

Reply

7 Anonymous January 12, 2005 at 7:01 pm

Oh, so YOU’RE the guy who’s always spread out on that big table for four when I need to meet a few clients at my local Starbucks.

Why is it better for you to have a big table all to your lonesome and laptop, leaving me and my two clients to squeeze around one of those micro-tables? 

When it comes down to it, I think S’bucks was right to ditch your table for two in its place. One guy at a table spending $10-$12 is not equal to 3 guys with the ability to spend three times as much—if they were able to sit comfortably for any operiod of time.

Reply

8 Anonymous January 13, 2005 at 12:01 am

Oh, so YOU’RE the guy who’s always spread out on that big table for four when I need to meet a few clients at my local Starbucks.
Why is it better for you to have a big table all to your lonesome and laptop, leaving me and my two clients to squeeze around one of those micro-tables? 
When it comes down to it, I think S’bucks was right to ditch your table for two in its place. One guy at a table spending $10-$12 is not equal to 3 guys with the ability to spend three times as much—if they were able to sit comfortably for any operiod of time.

Reply

9 Anonymous January 12, 2005 at 2:01 pm

It’s the Small Things
Michael Cage: “Many small businesses have no idea what the ‘little things’ are that keep their customers coming back. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, those ‘little things’ are changed or taken away. This can be a good thing,…

Reply

10 Anonymous January 12, 2005 at 7:01 pm

It’s the Small Things
Michael Cage: “Many small businesses have no idea what the ‘little things’ are that keep their customers coming back. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, those ‘little things’ are changed or taken away. This can be a good thing,…

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: