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Coffee, Wifi, and Seeing the Person Behind the Customer

I write in local coffee shops. Most have a unchanging, private wifi code, and so I stay for a few hours, buying coffee and (often) food if they have decent, healthy fare.cappuccino

The closest shop to me gives a new wifi code on each transaction. I have to ask for it each time. It doesn’t always work, and I get frustrated.

But I go back.

Why? Because, long ago, one of the baristas realized I was a regular in the shop and he slipped me the password for the staff wifi. 

“You’re here often,” he said. “I don’t want you to have to ask all the time. Just don’t share the code, okay?”

I never shared the staff code, but I use it when the one on my receipt (that’s only good for a certain number of “purchased” minutes) doesn’t work. 

Why am I telling you this? Because you might have some kind of short-sighted policy in your own business, but the decision of one of your workers saved a longtime customer. They saw the person behind the customer, and they understood a potential pain point. They understood the importance of making regular customers feel like they are treated well. 

These employees are valuable. Recognize them and empower them to make decisions. Your business will be better for it.

As for me? Once that staff code doesn’t work anymore, I’ll probably move on to a new coffee shop. There are many in this area and wifi isn’t a luxury item in American society, but an expected amenity now. If I bump into the shop owner, I’ll tell him about his wifi. But I’ve heard him talk to his employees, and I doubt I’ll make much headway. Still, the coffee is delicious here and it’s about time for another cup so I’ll end this post now.