Whom do you enjoy doing business with?

I visited a DMV recently, and it was a classic DMV experience: mildly unpleasant throughout. While nothing about the place seemed designed around customers' needs or comfort, I was particularly struck by the hours.

Closed 11:30-12:30 for lunch. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

In other words, if you work standard hours and need to visit this particular DMV, you’ve got to take time off work. I’m fortunate to have the kind of job where I can slip out of the office for an hour during a quiet afternoon, but many folks aren’t so lucky. Their hours alone made it clear that this DMV was not trying very hard to earn my business, and I certainly would have preferred not to give it to them.

Fortunately, most businesses do better. There are a whole bunch of companies with whom I’m happy enough doing business—I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, and that’s plenty. Going to the grocery store doesn’t have to brighten my day—I just need bread and milk.

But a few businesses do brighten my day.

Take Root Cafe, for instance, is a joy to visit. Their food is delicious and healthy, their staff is cheerful, and their ingredients are high-quality and locally-sourced. To top it off, their pay-what-you-can model works to alleviate hunger in the local area. I enjoy doing business with Take Root—I’m excited to give them my money.

What sets a place like Take Root apart?

Caring.

They care deeply about the customer experience, about food quality, and about the societal impact of their business. They care more than they need to, and in doing so, they’ve created what author Ken Blanchard calls “raving fans.”

Caring that much isn’t easy, but it’s possible. And in both our professional and personal lives, we get to make a new choice every day about how much we care.