After visiting a fast-food establishment for coffee and a breakfast sandwich, I left shaking my head and wondering who made the decisions there. I was second in line at the only open register and had to wait almost five minutes to get waited on (and there were about four more people behind me). The person taking the orders was a little confused, couldn’t find a coffee lid, and had to repeat the order of the person ahead of me several times. More than 10 other people behind her were standing around and talking or handling the drive-through window. Why didn’t someone else jump in and open another register? This was not the first time I’d had a similar experience at this store or others like it. I’m sure most of
you have experienced similar situations, and it’s very frustrating.
At large franchises such as this one, the corporate office makes the policies and major decisions, instead of the stores. Executives sit around trying to figure out their profits but forget where they really come from. They need to get their heads out of the clouds and look down to where the money is really being made. There are real people down here, not just numbers, and they’re your customers. They’re standing in line, waiting to give you money, so help them out! Spend less on advertising (we all know who you are) and more on supervision and training. It’s time to rewrite the training manual and serve your customers better.
Alas, these large corporations won’t listen to me, and that’s good for all you small-business people. Take away their customers by giving them better service.
This is where you can attack the national companies and fast-food franchises. You can and should pay attention to how your customers are treated. You need these customers to come back and purchase over and over again. Beat big companies at their own game and take away their customers. It’s not very hard to do if you think about it. If your products are excellent, there should be no reason for customers not to line up at your door. But don’t let the line move slowly, or they may leave.
Even if you have five or ten stores, you can still be in charge of your customer care. Visit your stores often; don’t just assume that everyone is doing what you expect. Hire a mystery shopper to give you a firsthand account of what’s really going on. If you own a restaurant or a fast-food place, give friends or relatives money for dinner and find out how they were treated. Then praise your employees or make any adjustments where needed. You can have all the sales and profits that the big guys are passing up.