Get Personal, Make More $


This morning I went to Caffe Ladro for a cup of coffee.  While brewing my latte, the girl behind the counter casually asked me, “Is anything exciting happening in your life today?”  I found myself in an unusually deep conversation with her about my day to come.

With little thought I tipped her twice what I normally tip a Barista and almost 50% of the cost for the coffee.  The personal connection she created moved me to look down at the tip jar and think of her, as opposed to looking down at an emotionless mug filled with dollar bills.

Personal Connections Lead to Better Tips

“If servers can establish a social connection with their customers, they’ll get better tips,” says Michael Lynn, a professor in food and beverage management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, who has been studying the topic for years. “The simple fact is, we’re more likely to want to help someone we’re connected to, and we’re more likely to care about someone’s opinion, what someone else thinks of us, if we have a social connection to them.” Servers and bartenders should focus on asking questions that engage customers more personally.  (for more information, Psychology Today has recently posted a great article on how to attract more in tips.)

Giving Makes us Happy

Connecting personally, especially when it’s unexpected is a form of giving.  The Barista conversation I had this morning made me smile and gave me a sense of value through connection and a new relationship.

There’s no question that giving to others has emotional rewards for the giver, as well as the receiver.  Sonja Lyubomirsky and friends scientifically show that people assigned to commit five acts of kindness on one day a week for six weeks were happier than those who didn’t. Similarly, Lara Akinin and Elizabeth Dunn show that spending money on others leads to higher levels of happiness than spending money on oneself.  Even toddlers display greater happiness when giving rather than receiving.  In this situation, my Barista gave to me and I gave back to her.

A Win-Win Situation

Here’s the real insight-  When service industry professionals help create meaningful interactions both the customer and the server benefit from the “warm glow effect”- the positive emotions and feelings that come through giving.   At the same time, the likely under-paid service professional makes more money, while both feel good about the new relationship. Win-win-win. nike air max thea damen nike air max thea damen

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