It was early in the afternoon when my flight landed in Toronto from Vancouver. Arriving at the same gate as my last trip, I instinctively gravitated towards the tea shop I favoured.
My previous experience was excellent, with the staff recommending various matcha aromas and flavours for me to try. I had finally settled on one matcha flavour and ended up ordering a latte made with the said matcha.
When I returned home I ended up ordering three different flavours of matcha from the brand’s website, which I now enjoy at my home and office.
It wasn’t the product that sold me, it was the salesperson’s smile and attentive service. There are a variety of stores that source and sell tea, what about this one would make me revisit?
On my most recent trip passing through Toronto on a layover, I went back to the shop, with high hopes that I would receive the same warm smiles and attentive service.
It was similarly a late afternoon when I went in, although this time the shop had a lone salesperson and that person was busy looking at their nails instead of issuing a simple greeting as I walked in.
I browsed the wall of tea tins, without any additional questions from the person behind the counter, who continued to be engaged with staring at the countertop instead of asking if there was anything they could help me with.
I had visited with the intent to purchase a matcha, and had my heart set on buying the vanilla matcha; instead, I left empty handed, after few moments of awkward silence between the salesperson and I as I stared at the wall of tea. The vibe was almost as if they didn’t want me there, so I left.
Would I re-order the matcha online? Perhaps. Would I visit the same store with the same amount of energy and enthusiasm? Probably not.
If you think having a great product sells itself, you are gravely mistaken. It’s the people communicating and delivering the product and service that gives your company and brand an edge. When we talk about culture, the people who really understand how it works and adds value to a business are the ones who come out as a leader in their industry.
The ones who simply provide lip service as to how important it is to hire for culture are fads that fade away as quickly as they rose to the top.
This is why it’s important to fight hard to protect a culture when you see it working; if you are a business owner, it is fundamental that you dedicate yourself to building a consistent culture by hiring the right people.
How will you know if someone is right, you ask. If they are not a good fit, they will stick out like a sore thumb; once they have self identified, it is your job to release them from this role that is clearly not a fit for their skills, expertise, and aspirations. In the long run, you will both thank each other.