I love bacon, eggs and coffee for breakfast. Since discovering that fat may actually be good for you it’s become a habit two or three days per week. I’ve found that some cafés make them much better than others – and in some the service is even good.
I’ve been buying a product — and a customer experience — from the same place located conveniently near my office for several years. They sell a commodity. Bacon, eggs and coffee, like insurance, can be found everywhere. And with little exception it’s the same everywhere, isn’t it?
BUT! Even though the product is a commodity, the customer experience isn’t, is it? No. It’s not. In some places the service is great. Others not so much. Some businesses offer a pleasant, clean and inviting environment to eat your commodities. Others are dirty, smelly or act like they’re doing you a favor to serve you.
So, this morning I went to the café I’ve been going to — off and on for thirty years — for the last time. The dirty parking lot has been bothering me for a while. Having to request a clean table and silverware has become too frequent. But this morning the last straw became apparent.
I realized that no one who worked there cared. When I thanked them for cleaning my table — in a very desultory manner — and asked for new napkins because I’d had to finish the job myself — they treated it as perfectly normal. I can buy bacon, eggs and coffee everywhere. It’s a commodity.
What I can’t find everywhere are people who care about their customers, their product, their environment and the quality of their service. That isn’t universal. It’s not a commodity.
I’m not going back. Ever. It’s disappointing for me. It’s fatal for them. I’d noticed that there are fewer and fewer customers at the café. Now, one more has decided to go elsewhere. Failure is only a matter of time unless something changes.
This particular business has been around more than 60 years! They have a once famous and popular brand. But they are doomed. Not because they sell a commodity. Not because they’ve outlived their usefulness. Not because they’re geographically disadvantaged. Not for any of those reasons.
They’re doomed because they quit caring and subsequently quit doing the basics that any business needs to do to survive.
There are insurance agencies like that! Don’t let yours be one of them.