Finding that your local cafe is discouraging your use of the outlet? If you are, you may be a fellow New Yorker. Wall Street Journal reported on how small New York coffee houses are limiting patron time on plugging laptops and mobile devices into electrical outlets. This article caught my attention because I recalled examples of balancing the velocity of customer service versus retaining customers who would potential get a second cup of coffee or bagel from staying around. Acquiring a new customer is important, but so is retention, particularly when acquisition can have a high expense.
Banks underwent a similar challenge. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ATMs provided quick services that increased customer convenience. But after the merger of investment and commercial banks during the 1990s, banks found that the same proliferation of ATMs made upselling additional financial products and services — loans, CDs, and investment management — difficult. Why? Customers were no longer inside the banks at lengthy time intervals to conduct basic transactions, let alone to offer additional higher margin products.
Small businesses must be concerned about the velocity of sales, but there can be some intangible benefits for having regulars who stay long enough for the upsale (good word of mouth, encouraging small meetings that bring additional customers). A minor sense of analytics — simply seeing how long customers linger versus number of sales during an hour can give a small business owner an idea if lingering a wee bit longer benefits the store.