27 Nov

A simple gesture

I have one true vice: caffeine. I swear by it.

Rushing out of Euston station this morning, on my way to a meeting, I was in urgent need of a fix.
When you come out of the station you are faced with three shops. To the left is Caffe Nero, to the right is Pret a Manger. I see Caffe Nerro as a coffee expert (of sorts), and Pret as a food expert… that also sells coffee.

The queue at Caffe Nero was huge and I had just 10 minutes to spare, so I veered right, towards Pret.

The till staff were faced with the usual row of glum, early morning commuters, but were cheery regardless. One of them shouted ‘honey?’ is response to a customer request, to which another replied ‘yes sweetie’. All fun and games.
I chipped in with ‘yes dear’ when asked to step forward to place my order.

I had my tenner in hand, ready to pay for an Americano (or ‘black coffee’ to anyone that isn’t a ‘barista’), and simply remarked: ‘good atmosphere here this morning!’
For this, I was told to put my tenner away – the coffee was ‘on the house’. Nice touch.
I left in good spirits and the banter continued behind me.

To my mind this was a smart move. Pret haven’t lost the £2 I would’ve paid for the coffee, they’ve gained the £52 (minimum – I may get a croissant or muffin here and there) a year I’ll spend each time I go to a fortnightly Euston networking meeting.
I’m now far more positively disposed to them and have a reason to go right, towards them, rather than left, to Caffe Nero.

I think businesses should do this more often. On larger jobs I’ll often do a little sample of work first, or offer an extra hour or two to e.g review some web copy.

If your product is good enough, you’ll be confident that clients will keep coming back and you’ll view giving a little extra as part of a long-term strategy.

Well played Pret, well played.


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