My Tea Stall Was Closed Today

Tea stall website

It was close to five in the evening.
By this time, everything seems a little dull at the office. You can see it in the eyes of people around you. Everybody needs a little break, a little chit chat.
I am not much of a talker. So around this time, I walk down the stairs to a tea shop near our office, alone. I sip tea, forget about the tasks for a while and just look at people around.
At times, I overhear people at the shop talking about their problems. I give them advice, mentally. I know it won’t make a difference since they cannot hear me, still I do it for fun.
Last Tuesday, however, the tea shop was closed (Error 404). There was no one there.
“What should I do? Go back to the office?” I asked myself.
After a brief thought. I decided to walk a few more steps to one of the other tea shops and hesitantly asked for a cup.
Why hesitantly? I don’t know. I just had this feeling that they’d realize that I’m not a regular customer.
I’d probably never come back so they shouldn’t be treating me well. The new tea shop owner didn’t care. He handed me a cup with a smile.
I finished my tea and looked for change in my pocket. There wasn’t any.
“I forgot my wallet. Let me run back and bring back your money,” I said to the owner.
“It’s okay sir. Pay tomorrow,” he responded like we have been friends for years.
Since then. A week has passed. I now go to this tea shop every day even though I have to walk a few more steps for it.

Why am I even talking about it? I had a realization.

We talk of business uptime, user experience, life time customer value and acquisition like they are new knowledge in marketing. This little incident made me think that probably everything had been the same for years. It has probably just shifted to a more digital infrastructure. Rules stay the same. You can learn a lot about startups looking at small businesses around.

1.      Uptime has always been indispensable.

How much business did my original tea shop lost? In his understanding, it would only be earnings of a day. In reality, he has probably lost a few customers for weeks if not months until a turn of events.
It’s even more relevant to the digital businesses. Customers are finicky. They do not have the time or patience to wait for delays, especially if your product is not uncommon. They can and will find substitutes around if you are not available to them.

2.      Experience acquires customers.

What’s user experience? For me it’s the simplicity of basic things. You have a problem. You try a solution. And you like how it works for you.
That’s how the biggest companies have built their empires. Or so I believe.
They offer one thing and offer it better than anyone else.

3.      Loyalty is a myth.

It’s controversial. For me brand loyalty has more to do with things, products that extend your personality. People are brand conscious for products that they can show to people. A phone, a car, a watch, you get the idea.
For products that can be replaced, you must up the game in some other way. You cannot believe that people will keep buying from you just because they are doing so now. They get better price, better product, better something and poof. They’re gone.
Do you also have some of these tips and examples? Do share them in the comments.

Ishan Mathur

Ishan is a published author, blogger, content and growth marketer. He's the guy behind SnapWryt and Copy Chronicles communities.

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