Dental Business Coach – recruit the barista

This month Chris talks us through his recent experience where he found the needle in a haystack at Starbucks.

My story takes place in the west end of London. I was down there recently delivering the first of my 2022 client workshops.

I was with my daughter, Rachel, and we had the opportunity to stay over in the west end for three nights. As well as to present workshops to owners and managers on two consecutive days.

So day number one, we arrive outside our conference venue and decide to pop into Starbucks to get some breakfast.

When we get to the counter I ordered a sugar-free vanilla soy latte. My daughter, Rachel ordered a soy latte. I asked for a mug. She asked for a takeout cup. That was at 7:30 on a Thursday morning.

We were in Starbucks for probably no more than 20 minutes before wandering off to deliver our training day.

Cut to the same scene 24 hours later. Again, it’s 7:30 on the Friday morning, a day later. We walked into the same Starbucks intending to repeat the process.

As we walked through the door, the barista looked up from the counter and pointed at us saying: ‘Sugar-free vanilla soy latte in a mug, soy latte in a takeout cup.

Rachel and I frankly stood there speechless.

Looking for a needle in a haystack

I immediately said to the lady, I’d spotted her name tag: ‘Catarina, that is incredible. How have you managed to remember our orders? There must be literally thousands of people coming through this store every day.’

She said: ‘I always remember nice faces.’

She may well say that to everybody, but it had an amazing impression on Rachel and I.

I then went on to say to Catarina: ‘I wish you would move to Manchester, because I would find a job for you with one of my client’s practices straight away.’

But unfortunately she said she was thinking of moving back to Portugal and thus our transaction ended. But it reminded me of a motto that I am sharing with my clients all the time – recruit the barista.

It’s a phrase that I’ve used many times before this event. What I mean is that if you meet somebody yourself in a customer service experience, if you’re on the receiving end of great customer service, then why not praise the person for giving you that customer service experience. Also tell them that you have opportunities available in your practice for the right people.

When it comes to recruitment, we are all of us trying to do the same thing. We’re all looking for needles in a haystack.

On Thursday and Friday morning, we bumped into one of those needles in the haystack – Catarina, Starbucks, Edgware Road. Perhaps you can catch her before she moves back to Portugal.


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