Not Our Cup of Coffee


coffee, serviceHow long are you willing to wait for a cup of coffee? I would bet no longer than five minutes. More than that and your foot is tapping impatiently as you wait for your first sip of caffeine.

I was recently the impatient foot-tapping customer at a local coffee shop. I’d gone to the shop a few times with very positive experiences, so I wanted to share it with my friends. We walked in the door to an untamed and poorly organized day at the coffee shop. Two of my friends received their orders, while the rest of us sat more than twenty minutes waiting to be served. Eventually, we left without coffee. On the way out I tried to tell the manager my situation. The manager showed little interest in our lack of coffee and did nothing to remedy the situation.

What are Your Customer Service Practices?

I typically prefer to shop local, but as I sat there experiencing such poor service, I couldn’t help but compare this local coffee shop to Starbucks. Starbucks has its process down to a science. They know the cost of a customer having a negative service experience far outweighs a free cup of coffee. The team member at Starbucks would have profusely apologized for the incident and probably given me a free drink.

Local shops can’t just assume because they are local we shoppers will support them.  In fact, shoppers often expect more personalized service from local shops. Local shops need to watch customer service practices nationwide, see what is happening in the industry and what customers have come to expect. It’s important to keep your local and welcoming atmosphere, while keeping your service competitive with fool-proof guidelines for dealing with different customer complaints, such as a long wait time or running out of a product.

A few ways to watch for both customer service trends and what your customers think about you:

Look for blogs and articles by customer service influencers to see what the experts are saying about customer service. These writers are not only experts, but consumers give them a unique perspective that helps businesses.

Keep tabs on what your competitors are doing. It’s an easy way to be aware of what your customers expect. Continuously adjust your practices to position your business as a leader in customer service.

Customer posts on Facebook and Twitter
Watch what customers are posting about your company and other similar companies. Having an idea of the overarching dilemmas in customer service is important. Also, make sure to respond to all posts toward your company. Customers want to ensure their voice is being heard.

Always, always, always listen to your customers. They are the one’s who are partaking in the consumer experience and will have the first-hand perspective to help you succeed.

Continuously reflect and revise your customer service strategies. Being open to constant improvement will help keep innovation within the company and remind your employees there is always room for improvement.

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