“Is It Cold In Here?”

Let’s set the “Customer Service Stage”:

Me (customer): “Is it cold in here?”

Her (barista): “No, it’s not.”

I just happened to be reading the wonderful book “How to Be a Rainmaker”, by Jeffrey Fox and was on page 10, where it says, “always put yourself in the shoes of a good customer.” (I think I’m a good customer. I spend more than $1,000 a year at this coffee establishment’s locations.)

When I arrived at the coffee shop I noticed almost everyone had coats on. It was freezing inside. Why would the temperature be set so low?

I thought I’d be emotionally intelligent and approach the barista with a question. “Is it cold in here?” She looked up at me (with a “frowny” expression) and said, “No.”. Then she went back to her work.

End of story. My wife and I sat there freezing as we drank our beverages.

This experience made me think about my own work and whether I made sure that I always think like the customer. This barista never thought about what she said to me for a minute. She answered my question and then went back to work.

She didn’t think about the fact that she had a sweater, a sweatshirt, a heavy apron and was standing behind a counter with steaming coffee- making equipment.

Later, another barista came over to explain to me that they couldn’t do anything because the manager had the key to the temperature controls and that the manager wasn’t there. I suggested that maybe the manager should leave a key for the person in charge of the shift.



  • Pull in the people in your organization who might do what happened in the situation described above.
  • Give them scenarios similar to the above (but about your business) and see how they would handle it.
  • Explain to them that (as it said in the book I referred to above) that we have customers only because they invite us to serve them. They could be going somewhere else.


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The Executive Coaching Experience
by Daniel P. Chiodo
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