Take a good hard look at yourself Australian small businesses leaders. The Prime Minister wants you to innovate but it’s even simpler than that: listen to your customers and your staff – they’ve got plenty of answers to doing better business.

Today I harvested two yields in just four hours.

It’s raining this morning so instead of crossing the road to ‘the usual’ I stay undercover and head into the local Hudson’s for my mid-morning take-away coffee. At the counter I order a small cappuccino and as I’m particularly hungry, I ask for one of the chocberry muffins to go with it.

“For $5.50 you can have our large coffee and muffin offer.” As I’m a small coffee drinker, I decline the offer but the cashier asks for $6.50.

“Ok,” I say patiently, “I’ll have the large coffee deal for a dollar less and then you can pour it into a small cup and the rest down the sink.”

“No worries, everyone says that.”

WTF. Why isn’t someone in the company listening to that poor cashier who does a daily workaround on the nonsense deal some fool in head office dreamt up?

Same day, four hours later, I’m back at my desk after picking up a late lunch. Well not that late. I fly down to get a sandwich at 1.50pm. A boring old cheese, chicken and salad toasted sandwich.

“Toasted? No, you can’t have it toasted, but I can grill it. We’ve turned the toasted sandwich machines off.”

“Why would you do that when it’s still lunchtime and there are still people (AKA customers) ordering lunch?”

The suitably pierced sandwich girl flicks her head to the boss 6 feet away, “That’s what he does.”

So I walk the 6 feet to the cash register and have a chat with The Boss. “Why would you turn the sandwich-maker off when it’s not even 2.00pm?”

“Lunchtime’s just about over for us…”

And there you have it. Lunchtime’s just about over for us.

Another business owner who thinks they’re in business to serve themselves!

What gobsmackingly painful customer service experiences can you share from your your world @work?

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