Words Matter

This morning I was in line to get coffee when the gentleman in front of me took particular umbrage to the sign posted next to the register. He did not have a credit card on him and stormed out of the shop complaining about their incompetence. As if he expected a coffee shop to be staffed with MBA’s instead of aspiring philosophy and art majors.

The sign said “Debit/Credit Cards Only!!! No Cash! Sorry!!!

When it was my turn I handed my credit card to the barista and asked why they weren’t taking cash. He replied he was locked out of the office where the cash was stored by the barista who closed the night before. A reasonable explanation of events. His response, however, was less than stellar. His sign pissed off one customer that I saw, and who knows how many others left with the intention of never returning. He thought he was doing right, but he didn’t carefully explain the problem and ended up costing the coffee shop a lot of money with his inept but well-intentioned reply.

How often do we do the same thing in our practices? How often do we put up signs meant to speed the process or make our lives easier that instead have unintended negative consequences to our businesses?

No Public Restrooms.

No Work On Eyewear Not Purchased Here.

No Photos Inside Our Store.

 

Even the unprinted comments regarding brands or competitors send a message to your prospective customers, do they not? Words do matter, and even the best of intentions don’t always have the best of outcomes. That’s why it is always best to think before acting and having someone to bounce concepts with back and forth before implementing what could be something that could cost your business big dollars.

Below is the sign I made instead and walked back to the shop with. Maybe it garnered the barista some big tips. Maybe not. The one thing this sign will do, is not unintentionally chase people away mad.

 

 

Epilogue.
Three days after writing this, the barista who I made the sign for saw me walking by and ran out the door to catch me. He thanked me for making the sign and said it was his best tip day ever. He is even buying me a cup of coffee tomorrow. 

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