Today’s customers expect a high level of customer service from every business that they have dealings with whether it is placing an online order with Sainsburys, calling the bank about a strange transaction on a statement or visiting a coffee shop for a much needed flat white. The bottom line is that customer service is still very important for businesses regardless of the size or type of business. But sometimes the customer experience in coffee shops can be lacking and the disgruntled customer simply heads to a competitor coffee shop the next time. So what are the top twelve customer service tips for coffee shops? Please read on to find out.
Create a positive first impression
We form a first impression within five seconds so get it right. Even if you are busy, make eye contact and smile to welcome a new customer. Also make sure that a customer’s first impression of the coffee shop premises is good too eg no takeaway cups lying on empty tables outside. Create a positive first impression with your menu – as well as an inviting array of dishes, make sure that there are no spelling mistakes on printed menus or menu boards on display.
Have attention to detail
It’s the little things that make a difference to a customer such as remembering a regular customer’s coffee preference and even better their name! Special dietary needs are something that you have to pay very close attention to. If you are not sure that a product is free from nuts, please take a few moments and check with the chef. Someone with a nut allergy could eat the product and could potentially have a life-threatening allergic reaction.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, coffee shop customers demand scrupulous hygiene when they visit. Follow all the COVID-19 guidance to the letter including wearing face masks and keeping two metres from customers. Tables should be cleared as soon as possible and all surfaces (table and chairs) wiped down with anti-bacterial spray.
Have a positive attitude
Enjoy your job and smile a little more. Customers are coming to your coffee shop for a pleasant experience and to have a little treat. They definitely don’t want to be greeted by Mr or Miss Grumpy otherwise they will simply be less inclined to return. Remember that your positive attitude will rub off on your work colleagues too.
According to a recent Statista report, 95 % of households in UK have a mobile phone so there is a fair chance that 95% of your customers have a mobile phone too. Make sure that your wifi is fast and if your wifi is password-protected, have the password easy to find eg on a customer receipt or blackboard. Plenty of accessible plugs will help customers who need to charge up a mobile phone or laptop.
Engage in conversation with your customers
Greet customers on entry and make conversation with them, even if it is just about the weather. If it is a regular customer, remember their preferred coffee and if possible, try to find out and use their name. Social media may give you a helping hand here especially if the customer regularly comments or shares posts. Even if you are clearing a nearby table, at least smile at customers and try to make conversation but be careful not to be too chatty as you don’t want to be too much in the customer’s face and you also have lots of other work to do. Remember to say goodbye when they are leaving too and ask for some feedback about their experience which was hopefully good.
Treat every customer as a VIP
Every customer is important to a business and every customer should be treated like a VIP. The simple reason is that you want customers to return to your coffee shop. Customers are spoiled for choice as to which coffee shop they can visit. The type of beans is important and the decor is important but without excellent customer service, the customer may bypass your business and head to a competitor. So the challenge is how can you “go the extra mile” for your customers in your coffee shop? Even simple things like offering to carry a tray for a customer can mean a lot to a busy mum who is struggling with a toddler and lots of shopping bags.
Listen and act on customer feedback
With Trip Advisor, Facebook and Google, it has never been easier for customers to write a review about your coffee shop. While we may give ourselves a clap on the back after a glowing review, we may not always like to hear what customers have to say about a business when if it is negative. A negative review can provide you with insight about the business which you may not know about and lets you make amends. Always reply to reviews and thank the customer for taking the time to write one.
Reward your regular customers
The loyalty card is an obvious way to do this as it encourages your customers to come back regularly as they know they will eventually get a free coffee. But what other ways can you reward your regular customers?
Be consistent in your coffee shop customer service
It’s easy to start the day being all bright and breezy but are you so bright and breezy at the end of your shift? We all get tired and our feet hurt but the customer at the end of your shift is just as important as the one at the start of the shift. So keep your customer service standards consistently high throughout your shift. This applies to whole team too – everyone should work hard to deliver a quality customers experience all day and every day.
Manage the coffee shop queue
No one wants to stand in a queue for a long period of time – five minutes is a long time to queue especially when you are in a hurry. So take steps to make sure that the queue moves quickly and that customers don’t have a long wait for that coveted flat white. Perhaps there is a training need or extra staff are needed but don’t sacrifice quality of coffee either. If the queue is slow and long, some customers will simply walk away and visit the coffee shop down the street.
Common courtesy goes a long way
Please and thank you should be commonplace in your interactions with customers. Watch your body language too as this can easily show disrespect to customers.