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!

BEAN Artist: 6 Essentials of Brewing Coffee Booklet

At Stockton Graham & Co. we pride ourselves on being able to offer our customers everything they need to run a successful coffee business. We are supplying our customers with a great new brewing booklet to continue this tradition. Our “BEAN Artist: 6 Essentials of Brewing Coffee” booklet was created based on “The 6 Essentials of Brewing,” constructed by Ted Lingle in collaboration with the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Call our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 with any questions or to purchase Stockton Graham Coffees, the base of a perfectly brewed cup!

* Printing Tips: When using Adobe Acrobat, make sure you print actual size and booklet if you wish to make it as close to an actual booklet as possible.


Three Critical Retail Coffee Trends Through 2011 & Forecasting for 4th Quarter

The Specialty Coffee Association of America recently released their Sector Report which outlines trends within the coffee house and cafe industry through the second quarter of this year. I’ve spent some time looking over the data and here’s what I think you, as an independent retailer, should pay attention to:

1) Overall coffee house sales dipped in the second quarter, but don’t panic. The first quarter was incredibly strong in terms of growth rate and that should bode well for fourth quarter. An incredibly hot spring and summer, coupled with sticker shock over commodity increases, probably kept some fringe consumers away. Many investors tend to be bullish on commodities and some see signs of improvement in that area.

2) Total sales of specialty coffee whole bean or ground at the retail level is trending up. In the last decade, retail coffee sales have increased by over five billion dollars. If a regular customer can’t come in twice a day any more, they can afford to come in once a week to brew your freshly roasted specialty coffee that they can’t get anywhere else.

The opportunity to hit a home run in 4Q is there, and retail coffee has huge potential, but now is the time to begin to execute a plan of action. Be sure to heavily market your seasonal blends and flavored coffees. This year, Stockton Graham & Co. has created some fantastic (and FREE with purchase) point-of-sale material that will help your business sell more coffee. Check out what’s available HERE and contact your customer care associate for additional information.

3) Customers continue to rank quality as the most important aspect of the overall cafe experience, postioned over price, WiFi, variety, etc. This one is critical and extremely encouraging because you promote a high-end experience. Don’t assume the customer will know your product is top notch – remind them! Your employees should be intimately familiar with each and every coffee served. All the background information on the growing region, farm and roasting notes are available in our online library. Mark the page as a favorite and have print outs of our single-origin PDFs available behind the bar.

Stockton Graham & Co. has the expertise to help guide you through the remainder of 2011 and beyond. Whether this is your first year in business or your 21st, our team is available to you. Contact us today!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.