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Video transcript

Second Cup owner Sam Wadera knows what it takes to run a business that people want to return to. Having operated two different locations for more than a decade — one in Markham and one in Aurora, Ontario, he’ll be the first to tell you that while good product draws people in, it’s great customer service that keeps them coming back.

“Our definition of our business is ‘you should feel Second Cup is your second home’,” Sam explains. “And so we try to do small things to make it that way.”

For Markham Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair and regular customer Sidney Polak, who uses a walker, a second home it practically is. Sidney has been frequenting the Markham location for several years, thanks to the wonderful accessible customer service Sam and his staff provide.

“I come here with my friends and work associates,” Sidney says. “Sam has trained his staff to be aware and help. And it’s just been very positive.”

Along with learning from Sam’s example, his staff also took formal training as part of Ontario’s Accessibility Standard for Customer Service. The training helped staff to understand how to serve customers of all abilities, including those like Sidney who might need some extra assistance.

“It’s just helping the customer out when they come here,” Sam says. “Opening up the door or taking the drinks to the table if they need it, talking with them, telling them to please visit again.”

In Sam’s case, most of them do return, making it easy to see how providing good, accessible customer service is a smart move from a business perspective.

“One in seven people currently has some type of disability,” points out Sidney. “With an aging population, that number will increase. So you can imagine the spending power that comes with that.”

While Sam recognized the benefits of good customer service early on, he says for him, it’s more than just dollar signs that’s a motivator.

“As a small business owner, it’s typical business sense that if they come more often, you’re making more money,” he says. “But at the same time, it’s your moral obligation to do that.”

And just as money is not the only motivator, it’s also not the only reward for Sam and his team.

“We get a lot of accolades from a lot of people,” Sam explains. “When I go somewhere and I see my customers, it’s ‘Oh Sam — thanks for opening up the door, thanks for bringing that table and chair over, or thanks for bringing the coffee to me.’ And that’s the most satisfying thing.”