June 30, 2011

A watered down Americano

One of my favorite drinks is a café Americano. This is basically one or two shots of espresso combined with boiling water.

When I went to the coffee shop down the street from my office, I ordered the drink. The guy behind the counter was new (this was his second day) and obviously nervous. And, he was left alone with no additional support!

He prepared the drink, handed it over, and mentioned that he tried to make the drink the best that he could, but wasn’t sure if he got it right. He assured me that if the drink wasn’t to my satisfaction, he would give it another try.

I sipped the hot beverage, and immediately knew that it was no good. There was clearly too much water and not enough espresso. However, instead of taking the opportunity of a teachable moment, of giving him the opportunity to learn, I politely and kindly stated that it was just fine and wished him the best.

Now, I may have thought that I was simply being a nice guy. I didn’t want to stress him out or leave him feeling like he messed up.

In reality, I hurt him, the product, and the brand. From this point forward, he is going to believe that this is how an Americano is made. Instead of being a little bit uncomfortable and providing honest and open feedback with understanding, feedback that could make the product better for everyone and could have helped him to grow and learn, I backed off.

When you are given the opportunity to voice your opinion on a product or service, it is your responsibility to speak up. If you don’t, you may come to find that the product that you have come to enjoy the most has lost its flavor, that it is boring, and simply watered down.

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