Not long ago, I was at a popular nationwide coffee shop and was happy to see everyone was totally friendly and nice. The place had a line and was a little hectic, it was as if everyone was trying to double-time it and move the customers through the process. At first, I thought everything was under control, that I’d get my coffee and go find a place to sit and everything would be fine. Well, not more than 10-minutes later, I had reached the front of the line, ordered and noted the long line of cups ahead of me waiting for the baristas to grab and start making.
It seems like everyone had some sort of custom beverage and I figured it might take me another ten minutes to get mine. And I’d waited all day for a break so that was actually okay with me, I deserved it, and didn’t mind the $5.00 cost or the wait all that much. Then I started to see there was a bottleneck brewing, and I heard customers complaining, drinks being re-made due to mistakes. So I decided to chill out and use the restroom and figured my drink would be up in about 10-15 minutes or so.
OMG, what I was witnessing was a disaster in progress, things had gotten totally out of control at the local big brand name coffee shop. Amongst the issues I noted were the following:
4. Trash Build Up
5. Messy Lobby
6. Lengthened Line
7. Order Mistakes
8. Angry Customers
The bathrooms were out of toilet paper, but I learned that while waiting in line for the bathroom from a rather ticked off guest. So I went to go get some napkins up front, but alas, the napkin dispenser was also out. I told the manager who said, “Okay, thanks” but didn’t do anything about it, too busy doing crisis management. It was obvious that the manager, a new swing shift manager, I’d later learned had lost control of the shift. Whose fault? Hard to say, and I don’t think the customers much cared whose fault it was anyway – tempers were starting to flare.
Finally, I got my coffee, it was okay, approximately what I was used to, so I didn’t care that much, meanwhile, I could see others were not so fortunate, some had given up and gone away angry. I thought of all the businesses I’d run in the past and the importance of a Six Sigma style approach to production and how the system, the manager, the employees just didn’t work efficiently that day. Let this be a lesson to you. You can have the best brand and the best product, but it will only get you so far – service and quality count – even in the Internet Age.