Six Ways to Freshen Up Service at Your Store

Customer service is something any business owner should always be focused on—and it’s particularly important for retail coffee businesses.

Your customers come into your shop for the local personal touch, as much as for the quality beverages you produce. It’s important to remind your staff and new hires of how important the little things are. We have provided a few tried and true ideas, to help boost your customer service levels!Improve Customer Service At Your Store

Be Yourself: Friendly greetings should carry some personality. Customers know when they are being sincerely greeted vs. just fed a forced hello. With some freedom your employees can share some of who they are with the customers, and still meet the greeting requirements for high-level customer care!

Get Feedback: Make sure your baristas, managers or servers are all listening to complaints and compliments. Huddle with your employees monthly/weekly to get their feedback on customer satisfaction. Did they over hear any complaints on something in your shop? You should know about it—and be doing your best to meet concerns. Not every customer is going to be 100% pleased, but re-occurring complaints should be addressed.

Respond Quickly and Earnestly: If a customer is dissatisfied with any aspect of your product or service, be sure to address their concerns right away. Not only will a quick solution appease the complaining customer, it will make all other customers in your store at the time feel more comfortable. You should also be checking the internet regularly for complaints/compliments on your business. Reinforce the compliments with your employees and address complaints professionally.

Show Your Personality: Encourage your baristas and servers to come out from behind the counter when it’s slow. Double check to see if the customers are doing all right, and if there is anything that can be done to make their visit better. When customers feel friendlier with your employees: they are more likely to hang around, come back or order more drinks and food.

Know the Menu: When your employees are well educated, they implement the best customer service. Give your employees all the information you can on new products so they can share this information with customers. Even have servers and baristas sample new products so they can describe them to customers. What coffee pairs best with the new granola bars you have? If your employees can answer questions about your products they can sell them.

Strive for Quality: If your employees are all creating consistently good and similar drinks, your customers will always be satisfied with their beverage experience. To help with this we offer Coffee College. Our Specialty Coffee Basics course teaches employees how to prepare espresso, as well as other hot, iced and blended made-to-order beverages properly drink-after-drink, customer-after-customer. Training ensures quality and improves productivity, sales and customer satisfaction.

For more customer service tips, contact our Customer Care Associates at 800.835.5943 and ask for more information!

Join us for Stockton Graham & Co. Coffee College!

Recently, Barista Magazine [i] featured an article by Tracy Allen on training for your coffee shop employees and the benefits of investing in education. The writer emphasized how training can improve your coffee shop in a multitude of ways, including: productivity, sales, CoffeeCollegeemployee happiness and customer satisfaction. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we couldn’t agree more. Which is why we have offered our “Coffee College” program for over 10 years! The knowledge gained from our program will help you provide top-shelf service to your customers.

Coffee College is a collection of training sessions that we offer to our customers, covering a variety of coffee topics. In our most popular class, Coffee and Espresso Basics (also known as Coffee College 101), attendees not only get a first-hand look into roasting coffee, they learn the journey of the bean from seed to cup. Attendees will learn to cup coffees, as well as, how to be able to identify the characteristics and nuances of the coffee. The more you know about the coffees you serve, the better you can apply the knowledge to what and how you serve your customers. Attendees also learn espresso basics, different brewing techniques and other coffee brewing fundamentals that enable them to consistently prepare and serve coffee at the highest level, enabling a customer to experience the same tasting and quality beverage, no matter which of your staff hand crafts it.

The brewing standards that are the basis of our trainings, applied in the coffee brewing and extraction processes, come from The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). We teach you to uphold and exceed these standards to brew a perfect cup of coffee, or pull an expert espresso shot.  When exploring espresso preparation, the attendee will learn the best ways to pull a shot, and use it for preparing different types of drinks.

Your Coffee College session is based on your needs. Want to learn more on simple equipment maintenance and cleaning practices? Request our Café Equipment Cleaning & Maintenance session. Interested in leading your own cupping sessions with customers? Take our Cupping for Coffee Shop Owners course. Want to design your own blend of coffee for your coffee shop? Then, our Exploring Blends class is the perfect choice. If you have a specialty beverage need, try Frozen Beverage Preparation or Tea Basics. Our Coffee College courses are held on site at our facility, but options are available to travel to your location for cuppings or workshops for large groups/staff.

As with any training, Coffee College helps build confidence. Attendees will become quicker and more consistent in preparation of quality drinks and more focused on serving the customer. No one provides better customer service than an employee who is knowledgeable about their product and industry, and this holds true with baristas. Tracy Allen goes on to say, “A well-trained staff is happier and more likely to stay put because training improves self-esteem, which in turn improves morale and employer loyalty .”

Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we certainly see the value in a well-trained staff. Jeff Vojta, President and co-founder of Stockton Graham & Co. confirms this idea, “All of our associates trained in Coffee College and Basic Barista Certification, from upper management to shipping and receiving. We feel our team members are strongest totally immersed in the culture of specialty coffee. We have invested in staff training and that is why we have been successful.” Employees can make or break a business, particularly in the coffee world where the baristas are making the final product. Keep your baristas happy and educated with good training, and you are sure to see more repeat and loyal customers. We offer our Coffee College sessions at $250 for the first person and $200 for each additional attendee. To learn more about Coffee College with Stockton Graham & Co., or to register for the class, call your Customer Care Associate at 800.835.5943.

Upcoming dates for Coffee College:

January 18, 2013

February 15, 2013

March 15, 2013

 


[i]  Allen, Tracy. “Cashbox: Guaranteed Returns- Invest in training your staff to see exponential rewards.” December 2012 – January 2013: 70-71.