Friday, March 5, 2010

Being Friendly Goes a Long Way

Being Friendly Goes a Long Way

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by Sarah Worsham on March 4, 2010

I was in the grocery store the other day and this nice older gentleman was driving around his shopping cart. As he passed people he would say hello or stop to chat for a minute. I doubt he knew many of them, but just about everyone responded with a smile and walked a way a bit happier. Think about your favorite businesses. Do you go back just because of the quality of their products or do the people that work there make a difference?

BiggbyBob has built a network of coffee shop franchises (Biggby’s) based on a friendly, welcoming place to have a cup of coffee or work out of the office. Every time you go in, you’re greeted by the staff and you can stay as long as you want (although I think they require you to purchase something, which is reasonable). BiggbyBob uses social media to build relationships and have conversations with customers, but he also travels around to individual franchised stores to converse with customers in person (and franchisees).

Our favorite local bagel shop, Blazing Bagels, operates under similar circumstances. A loyal group of regulars comes in every week to get a bagel and coffee and have a chat with each other and the owner. Another local favorite, Pastries by Ellen, also has a friendly and welcoming environment. You’re always welcomed with a smile and treated with respect.

Do all these places have great food and drinks? Yes. Could you get similar food somewhere else? Probably. But there’s something to be said for treating customers like people and being friendly. You give them a reason to want to come back. Sure, your competitive advantage may be in your awesome soup, but someone else is probably making better soup. People will be loyal to the places where they’ve built a relationship, and they’ll tell their friends (free advertising!). Being friendly can go a long way – and it costs so little.

What are your favorite places? What makes them stand out?


Anonymous said...

It is the BIGGBY way! Well said - products are products although some are much better then others - but it is the experience and how you are treated that make the difference! As Bob Seger said, "I feel like a number" doesn't get it!


Anonymous said...

Very well put! You are correct we all come to visit, work, relax at BIGGBY because the people are so friendly and kind. Go BIGGBY!

halfbakedmusings said...

This place is long gone but the Red Devil restaurant on Fenkell and Greenfield in Detroit. I first went there 45 years ago. It was owned by Jack and Rose Bassonetti. Jack was an Italian soldier in World War 2 who was captured and sent to a POW camp in America. He never went home. After the war he married Rose and became a cook in Detroit, saving his money until he opened the Red Devil in the early 1960's. He used all his mothers old recipes and the food was great. Beyond great, really. Still the best Italian I've ever tasted. My parents were regulars and whenever they walked in Rose would tell Jack and Jack would come out of the kitchen to greet them like long lost relatives. He never let them order off the menu, he just went in the back and prepared something that he wanted to make. Man, those days are long gone. Today most of America thinks Italian is the Olive Garden. Jack and Rose have been gone for some time now but they live on as a sterling example of providing a great product and a great experience. It's been 30 years since I ate at Jack and Roses' place but I still remember it as though it was yesterday

Anonymous said...

A personal touch, a friendly face! When you walk into a store and you are warmly welcomed - I have had that at Biggby Coffee.