Why being nice to your customers is not enough

Home Why being nice to your customers is not enough

And why you should also pay attention to people you pay

A few weeks ago, I had a drink with a couple of friends at a trendsetting Italian restaurant near Leiden, a town in the Netherlands. The beverages were great and so was the staff. I had a little chat with the guy who seemed (and appeared) to be the owner. He told me they were about to open two more spots very soon. The man was enjoying the chat and was very polite, like a proper host. Later, when I arrived home, I screened their online activities, but sadly enough: apart from a simple website, they did nothing. I decided to mail the owner, to tell him I wanted to help him seize the opportunities of the land called Internet. I was happy to receive his positive reply after a couple of days and he left me his number. So I gave him a ring.

When I called he sounded annoyed, telling me he was busy and that he wanted to communicate through e-mail

I didn’t like the tone. If he doesn’t like calling, why would he give me his number, right? All good. I sent him another ‘e-mail’ and we set up a meeting. Some and my partner Sheraz met at his restaurant before opening time.There were no guests yet. However, the bartender — or maybe barista — was there prepping his bar.

It was like I walked into another restaurant

While the owner was such a gentleman the other day, he was acting totally different this time. The man walked around like a dictator and didn’t pay much attention to neither our story nor his personnel. He was rude to the bartender, commanding him to bring the drinks quickly. And he giggled when we told him about the importance of good branding before starting anything that has to do with good marketing. Who was this guy? And what were we doing here?

To make people like you, you should first learn to like them

This is what influence expert Cialdini explains when he talks about sympathy (people who like you are more open to be influenced). When you’re fake, people sense this sooner or later. It’s almost impossible to build solid long term relations when there’s no chemistry between you and your client.

And I read the owner like an open book

If you’re nice to people that pay you, why won’t you be nice to people that you (may) pay? The owner forgot that I have different roles. Today, I talk to him about collaborative opportunities. But I was planning to visit the restaurant for dinner with my family, in my role as a consumer, a guest. Until he flat broke his prospectus. In the same manner he destroyed his bartenders’ advocacy.

Just be polite. To all of your stakeholders. To everyone.