Recently, two friends of mine had a fantastic customer service experience when they walked into Kantili Tiles, a store located in Perth, Western Australia. They noticed an employee of the store helping another customer, so they had a quick scan around for someone else who could lend them a hand. Finding no one, they were about to depart when the woman helping the first customer politely excused herself from her current situation and approached the departing pair.

“Hello, ladies. I’m just finishing up with this customer and will be with you in a couple of minutes. In the meantime, please help yourself to a drink from the fridge, some tea or coffee. Oh, and help yourself to the chocolates and biscuits.”

As she said this to the pair, she politely indicated the elegant service area where they ended up taking up the offer and made themselves comfortable.

In situations where a lone staff member is preoccupied with a customer, many rookie customer service staff would simply write-off another, second customer, and make little to no attempt to welcome them. Sandra, however, was unlike ‘most staff members’. She was hungry… hungry for their business.

The owner of Kantili Tiles realised that food and beverages were great persuaders and had set up the refreshment station for exactly that reason. Once my friends sat down with their tea and biscuits, they felt morally obliged to wait for the staff member or at least say something if they couldn’t wait any longer.

The level of service provided by Kantili in this situation was in stark contrast to a different tile showroom, just across the road, where my friends had spent a couple of minutes wandering around the showroom floor, without once being welcomed by a fellow human being.

Having not been engaged by anyone, they could freely leave the premises and, in the end, Kantili’s minimal investment in their refreshment station paid for itself as they did indeed end up spending thousands of dollars on tiles that day.