3 minute warning: Big reasons employers have to pay attention to the little things

In football, the 2 minute warning seems to work fairly well to wake up teams from Denver/Dallas and kick them in to high gear. How many times did Staubach, Aikman and Elway cause more scoreboard damage in 2 minutes than in perhaps the rest of the game? Plenty.

One thing you couldn’t do in that 2 minute period was make mistakes. Former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry was quoted in last month’s GKIC newsletter as saying something along the lines of “the Cowboys always knew we could always come back from one mistake, but two mistakes tended to beat us”. 2 minutes isn’t very long if you use that time to make mistakes.

At my favorite coffee shop, the 3 minute warning is what gets you.

After an uptick in “I overslept” and “traffic was bad” kinds of excuses for tardy appearances for morning shift at my favorite coffee shop, management decided it was time to fix this broken window before more serious things need mending.

See, if you let one thing slide, soon enough there’s another.

So what’s the 3 minute warning?

When showing up for your shift, if you aren’t at the shop within 3 minutes of your scheduled starting time – your tips for that shift go to the house. You get one “Get out of TipJail” card free per quarter, because – as Landry said – everyone makes mistakes, and you can recover from ONE. Show up 4 minutes late and it’s “No tippee today, Bubba.”

Why is this such a big deal?

Same reason every other little thing can become a big deal. They might cost you a customer – something far more expensive than 3 minutes.

It’s 7:02am and you’re swamped. One of your daily 6:55am customers is in a hurry because she’s got a meeting at 730. She’s been waiting 7 minutes already – far too long for a cuppa joe. Her meeting won’t wait, so she leaves without her coffee. When she gets to the office, she has to drink the burned crap they serve out of the automated coffee maker. She’s cranky. Sure, it’s a little thing, but it’s part of her daily routine.

If she leaves because there was no one to wait on her, she might be back, or not. If she is that steamed and decides that this was the last straw, do the math and figure out what that just cost you.

20 work days a month times 12 months = 240 work days per year. Times $3.50 per cup.

That’s $840. Real money.

If your staff does something to cause you to lose only one daily customer a week and they spend an average of $3.50 per weekday, that’ll cost you FORTY GRAND over the span of a year.  $43860 to be exact.

Not such a little thing anymore, is it?

Don’t let the coffee shop story distract you. It could just as easily be a pizza shop losing customers who make a $17 weekly order. One a week, and that’s another forty grand.

What little thing are you willing to let slide for a mere forty grand?