Coffee shops matter. From a local cafe down the street to the coffeehouse chain near the highway, coffee shops are the place in the community where people go to have an experience—whether to meet, study, work, or grab a delicious hot drink. Because of the coffee shop’s importance in the community, the coffee shop customer experience is a huge factor in running a successful business. It’s not an easy task, but creating a positive experience matters. Even though we are all living through a pandemic that has changed our world, coffee shops are, and will always be a relevant, wanted service. With that said, how can you as a coffee shop owner or manager improve the customer experience right now and for the future?
Get to Know Your Customers to Improve the Customer Experience
To begin to improve the customer experience at your coffee shop, you must first get to know your customers.Ask yourself some questions:
Who are the people of your community?
Are they parents, artists, young professionals, or a combination?
Are they professionals working from home most of the time and come to your coffee shop to get a break from home?
Use the answers to these questions to help craft the experience. Maybe you have a lot of parents who come to your shop with their kids. Make the experience good for parents and kids alike by adding fun drinks to your menu, like variations of hot chocolate.
How Do You Create the Best Coffee Shop Experience?
The customer experience you provide needs to be consistent across all touch points. That means all coffee drinks should taste the same each time you make them. If a customer tells her friend about the delicious mocha she had from your coffee shop, then the mocha has to be made the same the next time she comes back with that friend. Imagine this customer and her friend order your mocha, and the original customer tells the friend it doesn’t taste the same (meaning it’s not as good as the first time). If this happens, you just lost two customers. Because consistency matters in every aspect of your business, it includes more than drinks: it’s how your staff treats customers, the quality of your coffee, the cleanliness and ambiance of your coffee shop, and more.
Think About the Design
The design you create for your coffee shop is part of the overall customer experience, even if less customers are making their way into your business. And if your business is temporarily closed, this could be a good time to think about decor. Consider hanging up artwork that reflects the ambiance you want to create. Maybe buy artwork work from local artists. You could also post events (whether small, in-person events or virtual), and/or philanthropic opportunities around the front of your store. It all depends on the type of coffee shop experience you want to create.
Follow Safety Guidelines
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are extra things to do that add to a positive customer experience. If your state allows for indoor and/or outdoor dining, make sure your tables and chairs are spread out six feet apart. Also, be sure to sanitize and clean often (and make it known to customers that you prioritize cleanliness and health). It’s essential that you provide PPE for your employees and keep them protected. Also, add social distancing markers inside and outside. And limit indoor capacity.
Have an Online Presence
Invest in an online presence with an easy-to-use website where customers can order your coffee to brew at home. By providing a positive ordering experience, customers will not only keep ordering from you if they love your coffee, but they will come back to your coffee shop once they feel it is safe to do so.
How to Provide Excellent Coffee Shop Service
An exceptional level of customer service is a must when operating a coffee shop. The only way to provide a positive experience is to deliver excellent service.
Know Guest Names
Every person who works at your coffee shop should know to provide exceptional customer service. Employees should know to remember names of the customers who come in regularly. They should also make it a priority to learn the names of new customers. Reliable, consistent, and positive service can be the difference between a positive emotion and a negative one for a customer — a feeling that reflects how customers think about your business. If you think about your favorite restaurant or hotel, why is it your favorite? Chances are, it’s because of the positive, high level of customer service.
Always Re-Make a Drink if the Customer Says It’s Not Right
No matter what, always re-make a drink if a customer doesn’t think it is quite right or if a customer doesn’t like their drink. No questions asked.
Create a Loyalty Program
You might have heard this phrase countless times: customers are the lifeblood of a business. While it can get old, it’s a timeless statement. A loyalty program shows customers you care about them, that you are grateful for their, well, loyalty to your coffee shop. It shows gratitude. An example of a loyalty program is to give rewards points for each dollar customers spend over time. And when customers earn a certain amount of points, they get a free coffee.
Why You Need Coffee Education for Your Staff
As a significant part of the overall experience, your staff should know how every single drink is made in addition to what types of coffee are on your menu. It might be obvious, but your team should know answers to customer questions such as, “What is the difference between a latte and a mocha? Where do your coffee beans come from? How does an espresso machine work?” It’s more than just simple questions like these that your team members should know how to answer. They should also be able to explain more complex topics — like how to make an espresso shot and the science behind steaming milk.
Use a POS System to Improve the Customer Experience at Your Coffee Shop
A positive customer experience starts with the right tools to help you run your business. A coffee shop POS system is a must-have for any coffee shop owner, and the right one helps you run your business smoothly — including helping to turn one-time customers into repeat customers with a variety of options for loyalty programs. With the right technology, you can focus on what matters: creating a customer experience your guests will never forget.