Sleepy Guy’s Excellent Customer Experience Adventure


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OK, I’m all about true confessions. I’ve already admitted in prior blog posts my addiction to The Voice and that I play tennis with some gentlemen twice my age; now I have yet another tidbit to share about the mundane life I live.

I certainly don’t lead a crazy college lifestyle anymore; I never did really. Nothing racy, I live in a mother’s world of carpools, homework and kids’ activities.

So here I land … at the Barnes & Noble café, waiting out a four-hour gymnastics practice as my son swings like a monkey on the high bar doing stunts with names I can’t pronounce, much less spell.

It’s a fairly typical evening, and many of the regulars are here. I really want to dig into some work so I steer clear of Joe who always wants to discuss Evolution, Intelligent Design Theory and Creationism. It’s usually the same employees during the week. Jane, the friendly barista who talks politics with the patrons, or Christine who typically spends her 15-minute break visiting a new beau each week at the intimate table off in the corner.

My four hours here is always an opportunity to catch-up on new trends or just experience the marvels the public has to offer – crazy clothing and hair trends, screaming children … I’ve even had a young man ask me to pay for his brake repair so he could continue his cross country journey.

But tonight’s tale definitely ranks in the top five.

Let me set the scene for you.

I sit down in the comfy café chair with my tall, non-fat, no whip, extra hot mocha … or is it tall, no whip, extra hot, non-fat mocha? I never know the proper sequencing for the order. Anyway, tonight my husband decided to join me for a quick coffee. He’s all set up on his laptop, and I’ve pulled out my Nook when all of sudden … SMACK.

What on earth? Such a noise is not usually part of the café experience.

You’d never guess. A gentleman in his late 60s sitting at a small café table directly diagonal from us can hardly stay awake and that SMACK was his head hitting the table.

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He groggily looks around canvassing the café to see if anyone noticed his recent disruption to the excellent café experience. We all heard it, of course, but we act nonchalant about it all.

He continues to bob and jerk up and down, side to side, back and forth. I can hardly contain my giggles when my husband, who I guess just can’t resist, pulls out his camera phone with a great big grin on his face and hits the record button.

“Bill! No! Are you in 5th grade? What if he sees you?!”

“Oh, Laura … He won’t. C’mon. The kids will love this.”

The bobbing and jerking continues for the next five minutes. This guy is REALLY tired. We all are trying to contain our snickering when two Barnes & Noble employees round the corner. Oh my, how can they miss our sleeper.

“Uh oh,” my husband says, “That’s the lady who told me to take my feet off the coffee table last month.”

That’s her all right – the dumpy, stern-faced woman who walks around the store on a mission, not one to help solve customers’ problems or create an excellent customer experience, but more like a customer police mission.

Here we go! They see him and pause at his table.

The paperback policewoman without a flinch says, “Sir, perhaps it’s time to go on home and get some rest?”

He doesn’t respond. All of us in the café are exchanging sideways glances anticipating what is going to happen next.


Jane, the cheery barista, pipes up, “Oh Barb, don’t be silly!” “Sir, please enjoy a coffee on us. I have our new blonde roast. I’m sure it’s just the thing you need right now.” Jane very swiftly sweeps over behind the counter, pours a cup (large), returns to his table and delicately sets down the hot cup of coffee in front of him.”Thank you very much! I was in jury duty all day. I just stopped in for a break.”

Barb slinks back to her lair to ready herself for her next patrol.

Meanwhile Jane continues talking to Mr. Sleepy delivering a first-rate excellent customer experience. She continues to chat with him, refills his coffee and later delivers a cookie.

Did Mr. Sleepy make a purchase? I don’t know, but I am certain he’ll remember Jane, the excellent customer experience she delivered and Barnes & Noble the next time he needs to make a novel purchase or just stop in for a nap.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Laura Meredith
Director of Public Relations at Pretium Pretium Solutions is the premier provider of cutting-edge, sustainable and globally recognized customer service, call center and sales training, consulting and leadership programs.


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