The Specialty Coffee Event of the Year 2015

the-specialty-coffee-eventI’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be attending the Specialty Coffee Event of the Year in Seattle April 9th through April 12th !

I’m excited to take my Barista Level 1 classes and spend some time on the show floor meeting various vendors and suppliers.

I’ll be sure to be posting my updates on Facebook/MyCoffeePro so please check them out Smile

8 Points of Coffee Shop Customer Service

Percolated perfection!Although I thought the 8 points listed below were common sense, I’ve been amazed through my years of experience just how often I’ve had to train employees in the effective use of sensible customer service. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your employees just know what great customer service is … train them with these 8 points just to be sure.

1. Greet Immediately or Acknowledge Presence

Customers should be greeted as soon as they walk through the door, or at least acknowledged with eye contact and a smile. Often when I have a line form quickly, I’ll say “Good Morning Everyone, I’ll be with you soon” with a great big smile. It’s important that everyone at your company follow this point … even if they don’t directly deal with your customers (like the accountant or outside sales rep).

2. Remember Names and Drinks

It’s always best if you can refer to a customer by their name and even better if you can recall their usual drink order if they have one. People love routines and 95% or so of regular customers will order the same drink every day. I have a hard time remembering names so I let people know up front “I’ll probably ask you a few times more until it sticks in my head, but it will eventually stick.”

3. Ensure Quality

Ensure that you’re always providing the best quality products at all times. This means fresh coffee no more than 2 hours old, no grounds in the cup, and tasted for quality per batch. Adjust your espresso shots as often as necessary to ensure the best tasting shots at the right extraction time. Don’t use over-steamed milk and don’t re-steam milk. Ensure all baristas are following the same recipes for consistency … it’s fine if they put their own unique twist on drinks if customers ask for it that way.

4. Act with Urgency

Customers don’t mind a line as long as they see that staff is moving quickly to help everyone in the most timely manner. I’m often behind the bar by myself for at least the first hour of opening and I often develop a line … but I move quickly and I follow the other points of this post and it keeps my customers happy to wait a few minutes for their drinks.

5. Correcting Mistakes

Listen to your customer’s complaint, repeat back what you’ve heard, offer a sincere apology, ask what you can do to correct the situation, and go above and beyond to ensure the customer leaves happy and will return another time. I never mind re-making a drink or offering a customer a Free Drink Card (if they are in a hurry and don’t have time to wait) and I find that 90% of the time, the customer will return to give us another chance to wow them. I go out of my way to remember a messed up drink and what the correct drink should have been that they wanted … which impresses them even more that I remembered.

6. Share Your Knowledge

Customers to specialty coffee shops love to learn about the world of coffee, it’s important that you share your knowledge and educate them. Anytime we have a lull in the customer flow or anytime a customer asks a knowledge question, I love to take a few moments to explain a specialty drink, an origin coffee, a brewing method, or my favorites of any of those to them. Always make time to educate your customers.

7. Clean As You Go

Customers appreciate and deserve a clean environment in which to enjoy their purchases. Make sure to keep your work place clean by tidying up as you work and whenever you have a little lull in the customer flow. I always use the break in customer flow to re-tidy my area, re-brew coffees, re-stock and replenish and help out my coworkers with doing all the same in their area. This makes for a great team environment … and a clean workplace.

8. Thank and Ask for Return

Say Thank You as customers leave and be sure to say “see you tomorrow” or something to the effect of asking them to return. I’ll often say to regular customers “Thanks Don, see you tomorrow” or “See you Monday” if I know they don’t come in on the weekends. Customers often will tell us when they are going on vacation or will be out of town, just so we know they won’t be in as usual. I love the sense of shared community that this develops in our coffeeshop.

Coffeeshop Cash Handling

cash-handlingI’m often surprised at how employees don’t know simple cash handling techniques to use with customers so here are a few tips.

For this example I’m going to use a Large Coffee at the price of $2.16 as an example.

Always say the amount of the bill you are being given so both you and the customer both know the amount. Always count back UP first the change, then the bills to the dollar amount that was given to you.

So let’s say the customer gives us a $20 bill. You would say: “$2.16 out of $20.00. Thank You. $17.84 is your change. 84 cents makes $3, 2 makes $5, 5 makes $10, and 10 makes $20. Thank You again and have a great day!” (or whatever combination of bills you have on hand to make the $17 in change).

It’s seems like such a small thing to do, but by repeating the amount given and then counting back the change, you’ll be surprised at how many mistakes can be caught and not cost you on your bottom line.

7 More Local Marketing ideas for your Coffee Shop

AIM_icon_256pxI hope you got some great marketing results from my first article of 7 Local Marketing ideas for your Coffee Shop, but if you’re looking for more sure-fire ways to increase sales and develop your customer base, then here are 7 more ideas that I know will help.

I have personally used and seen the results of these marketing efforts for different coffee shops that I’ve worked at, so I know they will work for you too if you just put them to use.

  1. Schools – Offer a discount (10% Off) to all Teachers and Students, have a Parents Day promotion where once a week all parents who have a student in an area school gets a discount … or buy 1 get 1 free deal, provide coffee and refreshments to all the PTA meetings, you may want to go so far as to provide coffee to the Teacher’s Lounge, that way you get the teachers hooked on your product. Put an ad in the school papers to support the schools more. Put an ad in the Yearbook, something looked at for years to come.
  2. Radio Station – Supply coffee and pastries in the morning to the radio talk show hosts make sure you leave some marketing materials that mention your business details in case they want to give those out over the air, host a radio contest but make it something memorable … say the tenth caller to the talk show gets a month of free drinks (limit one per day and only for winner), you know the talk show hosts are ALWAYS doing contests … so supply coffee at those contests and events and again just make sure you have marketing materials with all your contact and business info on them.
  3. Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts Troops – Supply refreshments for troops, give discounts to troop leaders and parents, cross-promote National Boy Scout Month (February) or the Girl Scout’s Birthday (March 12th) with beneficial sales portions being donated to local troops … try a tie-in using Girl Scout Cookies in your blended drinks! Supply coffee and refreshments to troop events so parents think positively about your place in the community. Do a presentation at a troop meeting to educate them on the specialness of coffee as a commodity and why Fair Trade is important in the industry.
  4. Big Office Buildings – If you’ve got the man-power then run up a coffee cart to the office floors … make sure you take food items too and not just coffee. Offer special group Catering discounts/specials to supply meetings of 8+ more people, offer special discounts for specific companies (especially during special company events), offer a special discount for a different floor of the building one day a week and rotate floors. Make sure you promote specials for Secretary Day and Boss Day too.
  5. Hair Salons, Dog Grooming, Auto Mechanic, Car Detailing – Market your business anywhere that customers have to wait or come back within an hour or two. Cross promote with those businesses by offering a discount to their customers and your customers get a discount at their businesses too. Offer a deep discount (at cost if possible) to these businesses to use your coffee as their customer’s coffee so you’ll be mentioned every time someone asks about or compliments the coffee.
  6. Hospitals, Urgent Care Centers, Doctor Offices, Dentist Offices – Again, anywhere that customers have to wait any significant length of time. Also professionals in these fields can afford luxury coffee drinks so they are a great target market themselves. Also try to supply the office coffee at these locations so that when their clients ask where the coffee comes from … you’re the place mentioned.
  7. Affordability – Beat the Big Players in the market by being slightly more affordable on your drink prices with superior products too, word of mouth will quickly spread on this fact.

What other ideas do you have that you need help developing?

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