Over the past twenty years, we have seen coffee shops come and go for many different reasons. It has been an education in what works and what doesn’t, and has helped us learn the essential elements of successful coffee businesses. Unfortunately, having great coffee isn’t the only thing coffee customers are looking for. They are looking to be engaged in a unique atmosphere and experience that they will want to share with a friend, or in this day and age, their 5,000 followers.
Engaging your customers goes far beyond conversation. It involves creating an experience that engages all of your customer’s senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. Your distinct customer experience should be designed to begin when they pull into your parking lot and continue beyond the time they walk through your door and place their order. Does the smell of coffee hit them as they step into your store? Does the lighting, furnishings and music reflect your unique brand? All of these things and more create your customer experience.
Next time you go to your store, try to imagine you are seeing everything as a first-time customer. Evaluate everything you see, smell, hear and touch. Improving your customer experience can be as simple as installing window shades to block harsh sunlight or making sure you have a clear parking lot. If baking is an option, we suggest doing it. The smell of your signature pastry might be all it takes to bring your customers back every morning. If you have a drive-through, placing signs that feature your latest offerings and having a friendly voice over the speaker help make the customer feel valued and appreciated. You may even want to add a fan to blow all the delicious smells out of the drive-through window to remind the “to-go” customers of your tasty food items!
Put time and care into creating an experience that your customers will enjoy and you will see the benefits in stronger customer loyalty and advocacy. Having your customers as advocates is the most valuable form of marketing there is. The modern consumer is compelled to share their favorite spot on social media, so give them something to post about! Putting a little extra effort into an engaging experience will help drive traffic to your store and allow you to capitalize on higher margins.
Top 5 Tips on Creating a Customer Experience
1. Take notes from Cinnabon, use scent as a marketing tool.
2. Check the lighting in your store. Do you need to wear sunglasses to sit in your café?
3. What is the look and feel of your shop? Could the walls use a fresh coat of paint?
4. Do you have music your target market will enjoy? Explore satellite or internet radio options that include royalty fees in their contract to avoid fines or possible lawsuits.
5. Do you have comfortable seating? Having one or two comfy lounge chair options is a great way to invite guests to stay a little longer.
For more tips and tricks on creating your customer experience, browse our blog archives.