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A reminder that the customer is King

Every so often, I like to be reminded how NOT to treat customers - if necessary by "suffering" the poor treatment myself. And today, I'm writing here to publicly thank the Azuza Coffee Bar in Hughenden Yard, Marlborough, Wiltshire for their classic example of how not to look after customers.

Update - December 2005 - see feedback from Azuza added at end of article

Lisa, Dad and I walked in at about 20 past four, found a table, read the menu. Lisa and I went up to the counter to order cream teas... "we're not serving food any more" says the curt young lady and we settle, reluctantly for cups of tea and a fruit smoothie. So why am I upset? Because for the next 15 to 20 minutes they were bringing out food for everyone else, it seemed. Including food for people who hadn't even been in the place when we arrived.

So what happened? Didn't they like the look of me? Perhaps they didn't - here's my picture and you can judge for yourself. But I have another theory. Lisa's accent is clearly not of local origin and Marlborough's a tourist town. I think the staff member just couldn't be bothered with a visitor ... not realising she was dealing with a (vocal, it turns out!) local.

If you catch me - EVER - treating people differently like the Azuza or you feel I've got something (anything) wrong, please TELL ME. My email address is plastered all over this site and I welcome the input. But I'll admit that I ask you to tell me .... when I didn't follow up in Marlborough. I was embarrassed enough as it was, didn't want to make a scene in front of Lisa and Dad and I let it ride; stiff British upper lip.

As we walked out, Lisa suggested that we might have done better had I been wearing an "I'm blogging it" T shirt. I doubt that would have made any difference - they don't seem to have an email address or website so I can't drop them a quick "oy ....". Or perhaps they have it right - enough customers and they really don't want us.

Next time I'm in Marlborough, I'll be back at Polly's tea room, where they were queuing right out the door today. Hindsight reminds me that something good is worth waiting for; our customers wait for a week that's available or the next running of a public course all the time ... and I should have done the same for tea!


Footnote - if you're reading this and associated with the coffee shop mentioned, please do let me know what happened and I'll be happy to add balancing comments onto this entry.

Feedback - a few months after I posted the above item in some frustration, I got a call from one of the co-owners of Azuza, who was very apologetic and assured me that they had had a few problems that he believed to be resolved. A follow up letter invited me to present myself (with the letter) at the cafe and enjoy a complimentary something. I'm not going to take up this offer in quite the way it was made - of COURSE I would get good service and feel mighty embarrassed too, but I have noted that next time I want afternoon tea in Marlborough, I'll look in on Azuza and see if they're doing any better. It may be a while as I'm mighty busy, but I'll report back here. Feeback added 12.2005
(written 2005-05-01, updated 2006-06-05)

 
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