I’m writing this from Tamper coffee in Sheffield. Tamper is an independent chain of New Zealand style coffee shops. They do truly excellent coffee, which is high praise given that I am an unabashed coffee snob.
The coffee is great, the food is great. But, the service is crap.
I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes now and nobody has taken my order. This isn’t the first time this has happened; I have had to order drinks from the counter before.
Why offer table service if you are then going to ignore the people you are going to serve? It feels like financial madness.
I like table service, and lament that few bars and coffee shops offer it in the UK. I will basically drink four times as much decaf if asked nicely and regularly whether I would like another.
If the coffee’s good keep it flowing, dammit!
Every time I have to order my own coffee from the counter it simply indicates a failure of process.
Failure of process seems to affect most people who write daily emails. There seems to be a trend for companies with long sales cycles to send out daily emails. I do this too, and I think the trend is correct. If you want to hear from me every day I would be stupid not to write to you every day.
When your process has failed however I can tell, and the clues are in the details.
Every email you send should look like you wrote it at leisure, from your villa in Greece, drafted out weeks in advance. You should never send out an email that looks like you wrote it on the loo in the desperate attempt to get it ready in time.
I think there are three important details.
1. Consistency of schedule
The email should be sent at approximately the same time every day. Consistency of schedule indicates preparation and process. If your emails arrive at different times each day it makes you look like you are trying to juggle too many balls.
When your emails arrive at variable times it looks a little scatty. Nobody likes doing business with scatty people. We like doing business with organised people. People who arrive armed with a process.
Consistency of schedule is all about preparation. It is about not waiting until the day of the email to think of a topic. It is about preparing a draft (or at least an outline) one day in advance, even if this is indeed done on your phone from the bathroom.
2. Lack of a one idea
Each email you send should have a clear ‘one idea’. The ‘one idea’ is something I have taken from Sean D’Souza. If you were to distil your email to a single word or phrase, what would it be? The one idea in today’s email is ‘failure of process’.
Clarity on your one idea only comes when you sleep on your draft email for at least one night. Again this comes down to planning.
3. No call to action
I get an email once a month from my accountant. Or a ‘newswire’, as they call it. The ‘newswire’ just contains random comments on things I have no interest in, like the budget.
It’s like they know email is important but they haven’t figured out what they are trying to say.
I always know when somebody knows what they are trying to say because there is a call to action. That call to action doesn’t always have to be a link or an opt-in form. It could be subtly embedded in the content, like the email you are reading now.
What’s the call to action in this email? I’m trying to make you realise that your daily emails ought to be better and I can help you do that. There isn’t an overtcall to action, but it is still there. I don’t write these things completely from the goodness of my heart.
Bottom line: emails that look like they were rushed are everywhere. You never want to appear rushed, even if in fact you are. Follow the three steps above and you should see an improvement.