There are two aspects of a coffee shop that will either make or break whether people decide to return for a second time. The first deciding factor is the quality of the products and the second one is the unique coffee experience you provide. Your customers’ experience is something you must pay attention to in the shop every day.
Customer service concepts are much easier said than done, and it takes a lot of concerted effort to ensure that your customers are enjoying every minute of their time in your coffee shop. You can help your shop stand out by incorporating unique customer service concepts.
If you are looking for ways to improve your coffee shop customer service, you’ve come to the right place. The concepts are endless, but we’ve narrowed them down for you. Here are five customer service concepts to help your cafe enhance the experience for your customers!
Hire Employees Who Embody Your Company’s Unique Values
There are few things more off-putting than walking into a coffee shop only to be greeted by a pretentious barista. Although everyone’s perception of what is rude varies, it is universal for people to be turned off by poor customer service. Avoiding a poor coffee shop experience for your customers all starts with who you hire.
You can train your baristas on how to craft the perfect latte, but you cannot train them to be good people who reflect your brand. Being intentional about who you hire will enhance the coffee shop experience like no other.
ADDED TIP: Your baristas can help improve the shop’s environment by always making sure the espresso machines are properly dialed in before serving beverages to customers. If your baristas would not happily drink an espresso shot that they pull, then it should not be served to your customers.
Design Your Coffee Shop With Intention
Even the beautifully designed coffee shops have similar setups to one another. Essentially, the two “flows” of any shop are to order your drink with the barista then move to the register to pay, or order and pay before your drink is started.
Some coffee shops are set up in a way where customers order their drinks at the register and then wait for their coffee at the end of the bar. They pay first and then spend a few minutes standing in the open space while the baristas craft their coffee-based beverage.
Other coffee shops operate with a totally opposite flow which is one of those unique coffee shop concepts that actually work. Customers place their drink order with the barista at the end of the espresso machine and the baristas prepare the coffee drinks while the customers slowly make their way to the register. The goal is to have their drink ready by the time they pay.
The key is to master the system that your coffee shop has in place. It matters less about how you do things and more about how well you do them. You can implement as many unique coffee shop concepts as you’d like, as long as you execute them efficiently.
Strong coffee shop design set-ups will allow your baristas to work more efficiently, too. When the concepts are properly implemented, your baristas will have a strong foundation for behind-the-bar procedures.
Only with a properly functioning design flow will they be able to work as a team and complete impressive feats of order production. This will help your coffee shop stand out, and customers will remember your cafe as the one with the best customer service.
ADDED TIP: Keep some light snacks near your register. Customers love having the option of pairing their beverage with some food. You can also create notes about what snacks pair well with different drink recipes to show your customers you care about the little things.
Create a Rewards Program for Your Customers
Express your gratitude for your customers by creating a rewards program. The exact details of your company’s rewards program is up to you, but an example would be to reward your customers with a free drink for every nine coffee beverages that they purchase! Who doesn’t love a free cup of coffee every once in a while? You can also offer free coffee and beverage wellness add-ins. Not only will this provide added value, but it will also serve as a “sample” of your product that they may love and order again!
On a related note, offering discounts for veterans, active military, students, and fellow baristas is a wonderful way of showing appreciation for people who fall into these categories. Many people will ask if you offer discounts, and being able to say yes will enhance your coffee shop customer experience.
Make Your Wi-Fi Password Visible
One of the main reasons that people sit down in a coffee shop with a laptop is to work remotely. On that note, the majority of people will assume that you have Wi-Fi, so if your cafe does not have free internet for customers to use while visiting, we recommend that you consider reviewing your budget to see if your company has the means to spend money on Wi-Fi.
If you already have internet installed in your coffee shop, then you’re one step ahead! The best way of letting customers know that they are free to use the Wi-Fi is to make your password visible. When customers have to walk up to the bar and ask busy baristas for the password, it distracts the employees; customers can also feel like they are inconveniencing the staff as a result.
Enhance your coffee shop customer service by placing aesthetic signs around the shop with the Wi-Fi network and password printed on the paper. Otherwise, you might have customers who feel like they have to figure out the Wi-Fi situation for themselves, which can make some customers feel uncomfortable.
Show Your Love for Earth by Offering Plastic-Free Containers and Paper Straws
Equipping your coffee shop with the basics is an obvious step of running a cafe, but what about incorporating sustainability as well? Awareness regarding single-use plastics and other unnecessary products is at an all-time high. Carry that message throughout your business model by investing in reusable, sustainble products.
From bamboo stir sticks and paper drink sleeves to metal straws with for-here drinks and napkins made from recyclables, there are so many ways to promote sustainability in your cafe. People like to support businesses that seek to improve the world around them. Align your coffee shop with sustainability as a way of optimizing the coffee shop experience for your customers.
Offer Alternative Milks at No Additional Cost
More and more people are opting for dairy-free milk in their coffee. It’s valuable to offer alternative milk to accommodate all drinkers!
While alternative milk is very affordable when purchased in larger quantities, many shops still charge extra for them. Consider providing alternative milks for the same price as dairy milks. This is one of many very unique customer service concepts that your customers will adore. If you are worried about the cost of buying more vegan milk options, it might be worth it to revisit your budget. If possible, adjust how you allocate your coffee shop’s spending. Who knows, maybe even your religious dairy drinkers will switch it up and find their personal preferences for making coffee delicious without dairy.
Practice Hospitality by Going Above and Beyond
Your customers should feel taken care of for the entire duration of their time in your coffee shop. The hospitable nature of your cafe should not end as soon as they walk away from the register. Make sure your customers have the coffee experience of a lifetime by practicing regular acts of kindness for them.
There is a fine line between gestures your customers will appreciate and situations your customers could do without. For example, you don’t want to intrude on their space by sitting down and chatting with them. The point is to make your customers feel catered to without being disturbed or interrupted.
Create a culture of hospitality; this could include kindly asking someone if you can clear their empty coffee mug or take their dirty pastry plate for them. Another way of making their coffee shop experience amazing is by distributing glasses of water to customers who are drinking their coffee in the shop. This is a unique touch that they will cherish and appreciate.
Another example of going the extra mile for your customers is by taking their names at the point of sale. Asking a customer if you can have their name for the drink creates a personal connection. It also reflects good customer service skills.
From that point on, they are no longer Mr. Tall Vanilla Latte, but instead, their drink will be called by their unique name. This action shows that you care about the person behind the coffee-based beverage.
As the customer starts walking away, a lovely final touch would be to say, “I hope you have a great day!” followed by their name. Now, not only have you taken their name, but you’ve also made a point to remember it, making your customer feel special and unique.
Brewing it Over
If not the drinks themselves, customer service is the clear front-runner for why someone may return again and again to your coffee shop. Providing top quality service is the best way to ensure you have regulars (and good Yelp reviews)!
As you continue along with your cafe journey or are maybe just starting out, we encourage you to always put your best foot forward when working with your customers.
Is there something you do at your shop that your customers LOVE? Have you tried these things and been successful? We want to hear about it. Head over to our Facebook group and tell us about your experience!