I like to go for a long walk on a Sunday afternoon. Yesterday I walked about five miles, all in all, and my journey took me past a large supermarket, so I thought I would pop in for a coffee and a lunchtime snack. It wasn’t a supermarket that I use regularly. It was one of a chain that has been reported as struggling in recent months.

I approached the brightly-lit restaurant and studied the menu at the entrance. I decided that I would have a hot dog and chips (I don’t always eat healthy food!) and went and helped myself to a coffee to go with it. There were two possible areas for me to go to pay for my coffee and order my hot dog. Neither of them were staffed. I was beginning to wonder if the restaurant was closing. Members of staff appeared and went away again, studiously avoiding eye contact. They all obviously had something much more important to do than serve a customer. Eventually, a young man carrying a heavy tray, full of empty plates, stopped, logged into the till and served me. There were at least three other people that I saw who could have done this.

For me, this all comes down to standards – whether people know what is expected of them – and whether they are recognised when they maintain the standard, and given feedback and coaching when they don’t maintain the standard.

It’s not rocket science. Customers are really important. If we don’t look after them properly, they will go somewhere else. They really will!

Without great people, your business is just a room full of furniture!