Tuesday, February 4, 2014

4 Tips on How to be a Good Customer

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a good customer. Mostly just to be kind and considerate. Unfortunately in today’s world, those aren’t widely abundant characteristics in customers.  Here are some tips for you. I’m writing these as someone who has worked fast food and retail and now volunteers at a coffee shop during the closing shift.

1.       Don’t take up valuable space.
a.       If you’re going to hang out for hours, buy something. You’re taking up space that could go to a paying customer.  The WiFi, heat/air conditioning, lighting you’re taking advantage of don’t come free. If paying customers come in and see there’s no place to sit, many will just leave. Without even buying anything. You’re nice little hang out spot is going to close up shop if it’s not making money. Buy a $2 cup of tea and get a $1 refill for every hour you spend in the shop. Or just make a flat out donation.
b.      Don’t spread out and take up three spaces. That’s two people who could potentially leave when they could have had a place to sit.
c.       If you’re alone or with one other person, don’t take over a table set up for four to six (or even eight) when smaller tables are available.  
d.      If you know in advance you’ll have a larger group and/or will be staying awhile, see if the meeting room is available. That opens up space for customers who aren’t staying as long.

2.       Don’t walk in 10 minutes before closing. How annoying is it to be just about ready to close and someone wants something that will require dirtying appliances and dishes.  This is like when you’ve just completely cleaned your kitchen at home and are rinsing the final dish and someone walks in with a stack of dirty dishes while tracking mud across the clean floor. You were almost done! You saw the light at the end of the tunnel. WHERE were these dishes when you asked for them 15 minutes ago? My personal rule is to try very hard not to enter any store less than 30 minutes before they close.  

3.       Do not hang out past closing. Music is off, front door is locked, lights are dimmed, mop is brought out, it’s been announced that the store has closed? These are all your signal to get the hell out. The people helping you are at the end of a closing shift. Closing sucks. They don’t get to go home unless everything is done. The shift before just leaves when their time is up. But the closing shift has to leave everything ready for the morning shift to come in and go straight to work. If customers are lingering about, there are tasks that can’t be done. Which means those poor people will be leaving later, and if they get paid hourly their bosses are freaking out because bosses think the closing should be done by XX:XX pm, so what’s the problem?! And if they don’t get paid at all? They’re wanting to get out of there as soon as humanly possible. Not to mention they’re all drawing straws to see who gets to be the tough guy and kick you out this time. Because, ya know, it’s always the same people who just won’t leave.

4.       Be realistic. If you just stood in line listening to the group ahead of you order for 12 people, realize that your order might take some time. If this is going to be a problem, ask if your order could possibly go before the large order or somewhere in the middle. But don’t go sit down and then pretend like you had NO idea there were so many orders ahead of yours and act all outraged.

Of course there are many more tips I could give on being a good customer, but as I head off to another four hour shift of working for free, these are the ones that will most be on my mind!