Personalizing the Experience: Lessons From a Coffee Shop

Posted On August 25, 2014
By Dalya Arussy

I was sitting in a coffee shop when a woman at another table with a foreign accent was reviewing the menu for her order. She requested something fruity – “mango or peach” – and the waiter casually obliged.

I hadn’t realized her’s was a special request (and neither did she) until the waiter came through the front door of the shop with a grocery bag. Apparently, they didn’t have the specific fruits this customer wanted, but the waiter didn’t let that get in the way of his customer experience delivery.

Coffee Cup

When the lady noticed what was happening, she was extremely grateful but the waiter stayed nonchalant. He could’ve easily tried to satisfy this customer with other options listed on the menu but he realized that it wasn’t a big deal for him to make this woman’s request a reality.

This waiter knows what the pursuit of excellence is really about. He took a generic menu item and made it personal. 

The mangos and peaches weren’t what any customer would want; they were what this customer wanted. This waiter made the experience personal by providing an adjusted product. And all this without even blinking. 

As Lior Arussy describes in Excellence Every Day acts like this should be natural. We are all customers – from brushing our teeth in the morning to ordering at a restaurant. Yet, somehow, we forget this role when we enter the office.

It shouldn’t be that way.

We are continuously the “customer” and we know what we want and know when we’ve been let down. We have been unknowingly training every day.

So let’s use that training when approaching our own customers. Let’s use our own customer instincts when it comes to the requests of the customers we’re serving. Let’s use our experiences to provide an exceptional personal experience for others.

After the waiter in the coffee shop delivered the fruit salad with the customer’s special request, he left the woman and her dining companion to their food and discussion. The woman kept smiling. Halfway through her conversation, she took another bite of the salad and beamed, “Mmmm. This is exactly what I wanted.”


Read more on the Strativity blog: 

6 World Cup Lessons Applicable to Every Customer Relationship

What Taylor Swift Doesn’t Know She Knows About Customer Experience

The No. 1 Enemy of Customer Experience Transformation

The Journey to Excellence or Excellence as a Journey?

The Top 3 Company Culture Fixes That Don’t Work

A Tale of 2 Companies: Contrasting Customer Experiences

5 Customer Experience Lessons We Can Learn From Wisconsin

Creating a Culture of Employee Delight