Monday, February 24, 2014

An In Depth Look at Customer Service

Most of us enjoy going to our favorite shop to get our drink of choice. We go for both the taste and the experience. When we have that pretty little cup in our hand we know all is right with the world. So what makes us come back time and time again for this little slice of heaven? Customer Service! It’s OUR coffee shop were we get OUR favorite drink and see OUR favorite barista. The song from Cheers put it best, "You wanna go where everybody knows your name" or, at the very least, your "usual". 

Not every coffee shop we go to has this feel. In fact there are some that we would never go back to. These coffee shops generally have a low emphasis on customer service and product quality. 

The top notch shops, like our favorite coffee house, encourage four things: quality product, inviting environment & atmosphere, a friendly workplace, and efficient service. These customer service principles are all necessary to cultivate an enjoyable, delicious experience your customers will love.

How do you utilize each of these principles to their potential?

1. Product Quality - this is different for every hut. But the key here is to buy local and fresh. Whether you're shopping for coffee, milk, or fluff products cupping a sample of each choice is the best way to decide if it should go on your hut's menu.
Also, something that is often overlooked is barista knowledge. If a barista knows about the product they're selling they can promote it. When your staff can't describe what the coffee tastes like or even what the brew of the day is, there's a lack of information. Helping your customers understand what you're selling can boost your sales and increase your customer's knowledge of their favorite cup of dark roast.

2. Inviting Environment-whether you work in a hut or cafe setting the look of your shop is a strong deterrent or attraction. Is your hut an eyesore? Does your cafe need a new paint job? Customers do make judgments, consciously or not, based on what they see. Keep in mind too that baristas are the first people to make contact with the customer and should represent the company as friendly and well kept.  

3. A Friendly Workplace-this speaks to the attitude of your shop. Are your staff kind to each other? Is there friendly banter throughout the day? Baristas should be aware that the way they speak to a co-worker has an impact on how a customer perceives the cafe itself. 

4. Efficient Service-this cannot be emphasized too much. This area is often poorly tended too and many cafe owners don't realize it is costing them greatly. Being efficient involves both friendly and quick service. There is nothing more frustrating than waiting ten minutes for your drink (even if the barista has a smile on their face). The best advice here is to be as quick as possible without detracting from the quality of the beverage. 

Creating the best possible experience for each customer is the goal. Even if it means adjusting our menu a bit or remaking that complicated drink exactly to their specifications, it's worth it. 

From the team at North Pole Coffee Roasting Company.

BGA Intro to Customer Service CP103

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