Popular coffee houses like Tim Horton’s are often extremely busy. They have a set menu and you’re expected to quickly select from the offerings posted on the overhead displays. The only option for coffee drinks is usually the amount of sugar or cream/milk you’d like.

During one of my visits on a hot July day, I saw “Americano” on the board, next to the cold drikns. I asked, “Is the Americano an iced drink?”, to which the worker replied, “No … But I can’t see why we can’t make you an iced Americano”.

Well done High Park Tim Horton’s!

Great customer service sometimes means going off-script in the name of giving the customer what s/he wants. In other words, customizing the user experiences to the individual needs. This can easily be accomplished by:

  1. Aiming to “YES” when a customer asks a product or service that deviates from the norm or from the “rules”.
  2. Allowing and empowering employees to deviate from standards in the name of satisfying the customers. Understandably, some limits need to be in place, but it’s a good idea to broaden those. Many businesses are too stringent.

Saying YES to a customer’s request to adjust a service or product can sometimes have an added benefit. That is, it can potentially spin off a new product or service which becomes part of your standard offering.

Many ears ago I was building websites for clients using the then popular content management system, Joomla. At one point, someone approached me and asked if I could help them add functionality to their existing WordPress website. Although I wasn’t versed in WordPress at the time, I said I’d be happy to help him. I learned what I needed in order to satisfy the client and implemented the functionality requested. And so began my building WordPress websites and offering this platform to clients. My business grew as a result.

Are you prepared to deviate and readily adjust to meet your customers’ particular needs?


Being flexible, willing and ready to deviate and adjust to meet your customers’ particular needs has many advantages. Look out for those opportunities and welcome them.

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