What is your favorite customer story?
It was a Monday morning and I had begun opening the coffee shop right on time at 7:30am sharp. I sang to myself as loud as I wanted for it was me alone prepping the coffee filters, tasting the espresso, and setting up the milk station.
7:58 hits and I know I have 2 more minutes to myself. I can collect my energy for the day, I can finish one more task. But then I see our most regular customer at the door. I let them in and sacrifice my last two minutes of solitude before the Monday morning crowd.
Welcomed by the generic and routine “ Hi, how are you?” and “Good, how was your weekend?” I serve Nick his small black coffee without him having to ask. He is ecstatic to see the paper on the counter ready for him, the same way it is every other morning. Me being a regular opener and Nick being a regular customer, I could almost predict our interactions. But I’m not always fan of predictability.
I approached Nick once he sat down, aware of his Italian roots, and asked him “Do you speak any Italian, Nick?”. Turns out it is basically his first language. He grew up speaking it with family and only once he had his kids and grandkids did he put it aside. We bonded over the changes in identity across generations and what it means to be attached to a culture in Canada.
By the end of the conversation I knew three new words in Italian. Nick joked, “That’s enough for today, I don’t want to overload your brain with a new language”. But he also promised to teach me a new word a day. And just like that, I knew Nick from a different angle.
Nick is just one of the everyday customers that come into the café that I predict an interaction with. The interactions tend to be limited just by nature the of the coffee shop environment. But behind all of their regular coffee orders are unique stories, abilities, and personalities. This bonding with Nick opened me up to the possibilities for learning and connecting with the community within my café everyday that I go to work.