What Opportunity Sounds Like

I recently walked into a local cafe/coffee shop to perform my morning ritual of consuming unhealthy amounts of caffeine while creating my action list for the day. 

I surveyed the menu board as I approached the counter. Hmmm, no breakfast items. I did spy some bagels in a case off to my right, so I knew I wouldn’t starve to death. But I really wanted more than a bagel and I could have sworn I saw a guy eating a breakfast sandwich at a table near the door. I glanced back to verify, but he was gone. A hunger-induced mirage, no doubt.

The girl behind the counter said nothing. She just sat and watched me desperately look for something I clearly couldn’t find. I finally asked her “Do you have anything for breakfast besides bagels?” She silently reached under the counter and produced a plastic-coated breakfast menu.

Oh, I could go on and on about her lack of communication skills or customer service attitude, but I have a different point to make today.

As I sat eating my breakfast sandwich (which was quite delicious, I might add), I witnessed customer after customer clumsily trudging through the same series of events I had just experienced: the looking around, the asking about breakfast, the silent retrieval of a single, plastic-coated menu from under the counter.


Ok, I only screamed it in my head. But it was so loud in my head that I wondered if anyone else could hear it.

At the very least, she could have asked people if they wanted a breakfast menu as they approached the counter instead of waiting to see if maybe, you know, since it was breakfast time, they might actually be interested in ordering, you know, BREAKFAST?

Opportunity doesn’t come with a flash of lightning and thunder from the heavens. Sometimes — quite often, actually — it sounds an awful lot like a repetitive question.

The more frequent the question, the greater the opportunity. The cafe I mentioned clearly had an opportunity to create a better service connection with its customers. I mean, come on, if you get the same question four times in fifteen minutes, that’s a pretty darn loud knock that opportunity is layin’ down on you.

Oh, I’m not perfect in this area. Far from it. People keep asking me (like ten times a week) when I’m going to write a book. Well played, opportunity. Well played.

What about you? Any question people keep asking you over and over? Can you hear the opportunity? This isn’t just about improving customer service. It’s about meeting any kind of need or desire someone may be expressing through their words, actions, or both.

I guarantee opportunity is knocking somewhere in your life right now. To hear it, just listen for the repetition.


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