I've been reading a few marketing books by Seth Godin as of late. I highly recommend them for his "intuitive" marketing approach, I've found it helpful and fruitful, as I've written elsewhere. One of the concept that he has termed is the "ideavirus" or how something (whether an idea or a product) spreads from one person to another. Interesting way of putting it, memorable if nothing else (which, I believe, is the point). He calls the folks who spread this communicable idea "sneezers". I am a sneezer.
I love talking about things I like. I've recommended Seth's stuff at least twice today, not counting the above paragraph. I try and give friends leads on good blogging, good websites, good businesses, and good people within businesses. One of the best experiences business-wise I've had lately is with Everything Coffee & Tea, one of our wholesalers. I emailed them about a novel tea brewing concept I had heard about and their reply was prompt and detailed. The tried the concept in store because of my idea. That is fantastic service. The company will go far because of it.
At the same time, though, sneezers like me are easily put-off and hard (oh so hard) to win back. There are places I won't go, people I'll try and interact with as little as possible, and businesses I won't patronize because they have been off-putting. Of course, I'm willing to try again, but it takes a lot to convince people like me to actually take the step to try again.
Understanding this, to me, is very important. I want as many positive sneezes as I can get for Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea. The possibility of making a bad drink, then, becomes downright terrifying. However, drinks aren't the only thing that make sneezers here sneeze. If it is a bad drink, more likely than not, they will tell me. In that case, my employees and I have the opportunity to make a great sneezer: we can win them over with our customer service and our desire to listen. Since sneezers like me like to talk, we also love to be listened to. If we are listened to by an establishment, even if the product needs work, we will positively sneeze all over the place.