The Three HUM’s (Humanity, Humility, Humour) in Action

I am privileged to be an Independent Director of the North West’s Good Grocer – Booths – a 175 year old Family institution in the North of England.

Here’s a bitter/sweet letter from a loyal customer – and a reminder to all of us; we can all Be the Difference and touch our customers, if we choose to.

To whom this may concern Hi My name is xxx. I am 61 years of age and quite severely disabled. Since approximately 2013 I have been partaking of the Cafe service in your Fulwood store, either by myself or most commonly with my wife. On average we would use this service approximately twice per week. We both enjoyed the quality of the produce and were thrilled with the general standard of staffing. By standard I mean the quality of persons recruited to serve your customers. Indeed. On two or three occasions I have completed the website comments section is praise of certain people, always and sincerely including the team as a whole. This communication is to try to convey the intensity of gratitude and humility I feel in regard to the team as it presently stands and has done so for some time. In October of 2020, my wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As a general paediatric consultant based at xxx, she was far more aware than I as to the statistics around this condition. Over the next months, to 18 months, she endured much in the way of operations, chemotherapy, pain, fear, hairloss… and all that cancer and cancer treatment throws at one. We initially maintained our visits to the cafe, as it was a source of comfort and familiarity for xx, helping to keep up with her better ‘routines’. As time progressed this became too distressing for her and so, we stopped coming. She often talked about the staff in the cafe. Their warmth, their genuine care for people, their thorough professionalism (though annoyingly to her, not from ALL of the younger staff) and their drive to push on through what were commonly non-stop queues. She also enjoyed to banter and converse occasionally, with the high-end ‘wit and intelligence’ that she encountered, from some people. Though xxx no longer visited, I in truth found it, including the team, a place of comfort, and from people whom I now considered, friends, I found support, understanding and compassion; and all delivered in a truly appropriate manner. For example, there was genuinely an apparent innate understanding and knowledge of the times, and only those times when I was in need of solitude; in a crowd. On the xxx, xxx died and was interred a week later. Its of no surprise to hear that I was distraught. Not always showing this externally, but the team at Booths Cafe always seemed to know when I was struggling. Their sincere words of love, support and comfort and successful encouragement to eat and look after myself would bolster me for a few more hours. This remains the case to date. At my darkest point of grieving, the love and support of the team and especially xxx caused a sudden change to my then drastic thinking, snapping me back back to reality. My guess is that xxx didn’t have a clue, nor does to this day. I shall always be indebted to this lovely person, and the team as a whole!!!!!

That’s not customer service – that’s customer love.


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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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