A year back, a new cafe sprung up in our area. At the time, I didn’t really pay much attention to it as I was satisfied with the 2 cafes I already went to each week. But last Christmas morning, I was desperate for a coffee and it being Christmas Day, no cafes were open in our area – except this one.
So I went in that fine Christmas morning, ordered a take away latte and went on with the day’s festivities.
The cafe had been bustling, which I put down to it being the only place open. The coffee was great and with it, they gave each customer a free nut slice/biscuit. That made an impression on me.
Here in Australia, many cafes shut down over January as it’s our summer holidays and everyone goes to the beach. This new little cafe stayed open so I went in every day, to get my coffee.
During what is a quiet time of year for most cafes, this little cafe was HEAVING with customers.
I would sit at a corner table, working on my laptop (as I am today as I type this). I’d watch the staff work and customers come and go. As I did, I noticed something.
At least half of the customers who came into the cafe were greeted by name, by the staff.
When I first noticed it I thought it was a fluke, or that the staff member I was observing just had a freakishly good memory. But after watching for a few days I realised that it wasn’t just one person. All the staff were doing it.
They not remembered names, they remembered orders.
A customer would walk in and the staff member taking the order would loudly say, “Hi Jeff, large soy latte again today?”
Over the next couple of weeks, I watched this happen every day. One day I even kept note of how many names and orders they knew. It hovered around the 50% mark. If they didn’t know the customer’s name. they would ask and then write it on the cup along with the order. When they handed the person the order, they always looked them in the eye and used their name.
It struck me that while many cafes write the names of their customers on cups, as part of their workflow/organisation, this cafe was different. They went the extra mile and committed the details to memory.
A funny thing happened to me while I saw their watching them personalise their service in this way… in fact two things happened.
- Firstly – I felt like I was in a place that cared. I heard other customers comment on this to each other too “Wow, they know everyones name!”
- Secondly – I wanted them to know my name/order too!
It took me 4 days of going in before they got my name and order committed to memory but boy it felt good when they did. I belonged…. I had been noticed…. I was a ‘regular’.
It’s no wonder that this little cafe is almost always full (in fact many days I can’t work there because there are no tables) and has a line of takeaway customers.
Personalisation is a very powerful thing.
Personalisation on Blogs
Today, I’m sitting here in the cafe watching the power of personalisation in action and I’m pondering how (and if) it could be applied on a blog.
I’m sure there would be many ways and would love to hear some suggestions of how you’ve seen it done.
One that springs to mind was a practise I did in the early days of my own blogging, quite intuitively, and that was emailing anyone who left a comment on my blog. If I saw a new commenter, I would always answer the comment and then send the commenter an email to thank them and to let them know I’d replied.
This personalised wasn’t really scalable after a certain amount of readers (without me becoming a full time community manager instead of a full time blogger) but it had a big impact in the early days of my blogs.
I would get many, many emails back thanking me for doing what I did and I know for a fact that quite a few of those people became regular readers.
How have you tried personalising your blogging to take note of individual readers? I’d love to hear your experiences!!!