Okay, so I wrote an email to a local coffee shop because the last five times I'd gone in there, serious breakdowns in service had occurred. As I said in my email, I'd go in there in a good mood and come out totally pissed off. And I wasn't going to do that any more. The last time I went in, no one was in the front for five minutes. I could have robbed the place. Then somebody came by and instead of waiting on me (and the people in line behind me) just walked into the back again. Finally, after about eight minutes, somebody came out of the back and waited on us. I mean, it was ridiculous. Meanwhile, they've added a crafts section and blocked off the main door so you have to walk by the crafts shop before you get to the coffee shop. It makes no sense at all.
But all that's neither here nor there. After two weeks, they responded. I've pasted the response below because it seems to come to me out of an alternate reality. Yeah, there's the offer of free stuff--immediately followed by a passive-aggressive defense of the highest order. Fantasy, really. High fantasy.
The fact is, just like in fiction, it's not your intent or the behind-the-scenes stuff but your outward actions that make the difference as to whether you're seen as competent or incompetent, good or bad, etc. So I offer this up as a shining example of a fantastical, alternate reality view of the world.
Note the totally condescending attitude toward their employees. Note also how completely the response is intended to make me feel like a total dick for complaining. I repeat: I could have ROBBED the place. Leisurely.
Evil Monkey...er, Jeff
Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know of your dissatisfactory experience. First and foremost, I am very sorry. Your schedule and time are very important. I would like to send you a gift card in the amount of $25.53 which is equal to 5 chai teas and 5 $2.00 pastries, plus tax in hopes that you will visit again soon. If you would forward me your address, I will drop it in the mail today!
If I may, I'dd like to take a few minutes of your time to share the essence of my business philosophy. I gainfully employee workers of all calibers and qualifications. I try to see where their strength is and utilize those talents to help them gain confidence. Hence, not everyone has the mental or physical capacity to work the counter and run the register. Our register is a somewhat complex computerized system that requires significant training. Unfortunately, not all of my employees have the ability to learn this system. Therefore, when people are scheduled and not behind the counter, there is a specific reason. Within this last year of operation, I have staffed a terminally ill gentleman, three unwed mothers, a woman suffering from chronic pain and fatigue due to medications, a young man who taught himself how to ride a 2 wheel bike at age 17 and a convicted felon looking to turn her life around. I have 3 retired people who volunteer their time in order to still feel needed and valued and impart years of experience & wisdom
It is very important to me that the Bistro be immaculate. Therefore, many of my employees are hired with the sole purpose of cleaning the parking lot, bathrooms, doing laundry, sweeping, wiping tables, cleaning windows, etc. Therefore, they should not be behind the counter helping customers at any time. I believe customer service encompasses more than just quick service.
If it seems that I am making excuses, I am not. I just wanted to shed some light on this business that might not have been revealed in your five minute wait. Yes, I am here to serve our customers, but more importantly, my purpose is to serve our community as well.
In regards to our new entrance, I thought if people walked just a little bit further, they could justify eating one of our delicious homemade baked goods. In all seriousness, before the [current location] we were across the street in 860 square feet as a gift shop. With our new expansion, many of our customers missed that aspect so we expanded. In addition to our gifts, I am currently showcasing two stay at home mom's artistry as they are raising children and starting businesses. We also are promoting birdfeeders in the gift shop. They have been made by the children at G-- E--. All proceeds go back to the school as they are raising money to swim with the dolphins this spring. With over 200 people coming in a day, we have been able to offer wonderful exposure and to assist them in making their goal. However, we do keep our side door unlocked during business hours for a quick entrance if the gift shop entrance is not conducive. [Simply not true--Jeff]
In addition, [we have] been able to help support Tallahassee's non-profit organizations for over 16 years. As a small business, this is not always easy, but it is a way for me to thank the community for all that they do. We also make an effort to give 10% off menu items each month to specific groups of people that make a difference in other peoples' lives. For example: hospice workers, teachers, civil service employees, librarians, Sunday school teachers, etc. We also offered free boxed dinners complete with soup, drink and dessert for all of the people in shelters here from Katrina.
I have also devised a program called Making the Grade for my employees who are also full time students. I honor any GPA over 2.5 and compensate them financially each semester for doing well.
Please know I will personally check the employee schedule and see who was working on February 20th and speak with the employees working that day. Once again, I do apologize for your wait.
I look forward to being given another chance to serve you with excellence and make a difference in your day. You mentioned that you come in happy. Maybe you are being directed to come in to share your cheer with someone who may desperately need what you have. It is rarely about what we can get, but rather what we can give. Together, I know we can also make a difference in a multitude of other lives as well.