Customer service


Customer service

Our first blog is all about customer service, or seemingly the lack of it at some establishments. This appears to be a constant talking point for customers at our little coffee house here in Holt, Norfolk. I would even go as far to say that it is a bug bear for some, me included. Perhaps putting some of the issues out there and setting them down in writing may even make them clear in my own mind.

My partner and I will often go and visit different coffee shops when time allows. One, to check out what people are offering coffee wise, keeping abreast of developments and two, just to get out and have a break somewhere different and enjoy good coffee. As you can imagine, the standard of coffee served here in Norfolk varies enormously. The two main issues being poorly made coffee and the standard of service. No excuse for either.

One of the main problems of poorly made coffee is that it made far too hot. Just the other day my partner was served a so called flat white in a large latte glass that was taken so hot that she burnt her lip which is still blistered 5 days later!

However, the main issue I want to discuss is the quality of customer service. On more occasions than I care to remember, when my partner and I order a coffee, two flat whites the last time, one will arrive…and then the other will appear five minutes later. She had finished her drink before my even arrived. Surely it is not expecting too much for both drinks to arrive at the same time or maybe within a minute or so of each other? This is especially true if they are the same drink.

I appreciate that baristas want to do their latte art and make a really delicious drink but surely there has to be a line. Personally, I do not care about the latte art if a delicious drink is placed in front of me. I would rather drink my coffee at the same time as my partner…not 5 minutes after. I would say that the waiting time from ordering is very much an issue for some speciality coffee shops although not exclusive to them.

We are in the hospitality business and the hospitality business is all about the customer not about us. One of the most important questions all staff at coffee shops should be asking is “Was everything all right for you sir/madam?” when customers are about to leave or pay. From this one question we can learn so much about the customer’s experience. We all feel more inclined to be honest about our experiences when asked directly.

Of course I realise that we have to wait for our orders when establishments are busy and also when a group orders a variety of drinks but if I see the barista is doing his utmost to get those drinks out as close together as possible then I know customer service is at the top of his agenda.

Is this a training issue or is it because the latte art is more important, or is it because the staff are just not aware? Perhaps you disagree? Perhaps you don’t mind? Perhaps I have a bee in my bonnet over nothing? I would be most interested to hear people’s experiences.

Thanks for reading. More about the exciting world of coffee again soon.