It is a typical Tuesday afternoon. Two middle aged women, just finished their 8 hours shift at the bank. All they need now is a cup of coffee and a place to sit for at least half an hour with cup of good, warm, tasty liquid, so they could discuss their manager and that Brian guy who was looking at Marry the whole day. They passed three chain cafes, they want something else this afternoon. Finally they arrive and enter the shop.
It is different, there are no sandwich fridges all along the wall, no one screams, smell in any way, does not remind of burned milk. Instead, they can smell coffee, and sweet aromas of green tea which is just being prepared by one of the baristas behind wooden bar. Wood, is everywhere, not that cheap dark brown Ikea style wood, this is WOOD! Raw material, “serious gourmet sh#t”.
– It’s not that cozy here, but I guess we can sit there, by the window – said Marry.
– OK then, what do you want? I can pay today – asked Julia.
– Well, just a big latte, normal, no flavored or anything, I’m actually quite cold so I need a big one!
They were quite excited about what happened today at work, as Marry had a crush on Brian for a long while, and finally today, he started to show her some attention.
– I’m telling you, it is not just an coincidence that he went to the copy room at the same time to talk to me, I saw him waiting for me! – Marry was very excited, but at the same time quite shy, as music was rather loud so she needed to talk about personal stuff, quite loudly. The cue finally moved so they could order, Julia went to the cashier:
– Hi, Could we please have two regular large lattes – after this, Julia went straight back to marry to continue their conversation, as for her, the order was completed.
– Listen, I know how it looks but Brian has...
– What kind of milk would You like? Skinny, Semi Skimmed, Soy or Full fat? – Barista had to interrupt…
– Oh, I’m sorry, Full Fat will be fine, thank You – Julia was a little bit embarrassed as she sort of ignored a barista.
– As I was saying, Brian has been…
– We have two different types of espresso beans. One is from Colombia, it is washed processed, Caturra, it has notes of chocolate and plums. Second one is Ethiopian, very fruity, but I don’t think it will work with milk, so maybe Colombian? – Girl asked with a little bit irony in her voice.
– Yyy, I’m sorry, I don’t really know any of the things You just said, We are very easy to please, so you can pick something for us. – At that moment, Julia turned red on her face… – Can I pay right away? – She asked.
– Of course You can. It’s nine fifty.
On Julia’s face appeared a little bit of shock. She is not a cheap person, or a gold digger, she just never paid for a coffee this much.
– Wow, that is quite a price! I was paying for two large lattes six fifty this morning, and actually, that is what i usually pay in that cafe across the street. – She did not want to argue, she just needed an explanation, why something that she orders every day, twice, suddenly costs 30% more.
– Well… – You know this “well”, this is the “well” that is going to turn your visit into an unpleasant conversation. – Our coffee is carefully selected, we care about the farmers, we use only the best quality beans, do You know what direct trade means? – She asked and gave Julia a look that no one wants to get while ordering coffee.
– No, I’m sorry, I didn’t know coffee can be that interesting! You know what? We will take those coffees to go, we actually need to go soon. – Julia paid, Marry was a little bit upset about the whole situation, but as it turns out, they went to the park where they met Brian.
We can all agree, something did not quite work there. Was it a customer, that did not want to put all attention into the conversation with cashier? Was it a cashier that did not ask questions in a right way? Or maybe everything here sounds just about right?
Your call, but as Tim just called to thank for a tip I gave him, to visit that cool place in London, I will tell you what experience he got from it.
Tim is a tall, handsome and successful guy. he lives in London. He travels a lot, he loves coffee, but he isn’t really a geek, he just drinks it, all the time. As his friend gave him a tip about this new opened place, where they serve all those new, specialty coffees, he decided to try it out.
Place inside looked like a designer catalog cover. To describe it’s beauty and style it would take a while, so let’s just say it was “Stairway to Heaven” of all coffee shop designs he ever saw. Baristas smiled to him and even joked “Don’t worry, we don’t bite, come on!”. He smiled too, what a welcome…
– Hi, I’ve heard that You do some crazy things here, I promise, I will try them all one day, but now I have time for a quick Large Latte… – He did not want to be disrespectful or rude, he just really needed a quick coffee, as he was meeting his friend.
– Of course Sir! It will be a little more than you usually pay, as we use a really high quality beans which are more expensive, it will be four fifty.
– Great! I will just take a sit over there. – Tim went to the table, took off his coat and started to look around. he immediately felt this warm atmosphere, quietly playing some indie music, “cafe noise”, some interesting magazines, artistic paintings. When he got his coffee, it looked amazing. Something like a flower or a butterfly, but still, beautiful. After first sip, he knew, something has changed in his head. He called his friend, asked him to meet in this cafe. While he was waiting, he went to the barista.
– Hey! How did this happen? I mean, it’s the best latte I have ever had, milk is not as hot as in other places I go, but I guess is your preference right? And what is the deal with two types of bean? Is it for white and black coffee?
Barista smiled, asked his friend to cover him for a minute, left the bar, and started to talk with Tim about coffee. Suddenly one girl joined them, to hear the story, she got very into the topic, they started asking questions. It got busy again, so barista had to leave them, but girl, named Sarah, invited Tim to the table. The talked for a while, than Tims’ friend called to cancel because of huge traffic. New friends decided to stay until closing, so they could talk a little longer with a barista. After few days they met again, started buying coffee equipment, trying new types of coffee.
Now, it’s fifteen years later. Tim and Sarah just walked their seven years old son to the school, and then went to open their cafe, they walked together and were smiling, thinking about one guy, that with his passion, changed their life, forever.
Sounded much better, but what was different? Or maybe everything was the same and those were just different people?
Customer service is not an easy topic, that is why I have decided to create the whole series about it. Next time, you will read what different coffee professionals think about customer service. I would also like to know what all of you think.
Please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what customer service is and means to you.
Please, share this with your friends, it is time to get serious…
PS. I hope I didn’t embarrass myself with my storytelling [non]skills.