What customers want…

Yesterday something happened that got me thinking. It was a usual busy saturday and is nearly always the case the odd customer decides ” no, we’re going to sit down rather than waiting with the rest of the que to collect our drinks”. We’re a busy 100+ covers house with two 2- group Faema Presidents and two barista’s running them (one on extraction one on milk & serve). Among the many orders was a 2 long blacks order and a 1 latte 1 capp order. I had already confirmed with the next guys waiting that they had the long blacks order and again when handing them over said “two long blacks for you, many thanks” he took them and sat down. I then poured the capp and latte. The owners had decided to sit down so I called out the drinks. Anyway they were never claimed so I enjoyed our 6 oz capp 🙂 By this time the long black’s guy came up and asked me for milk… a little perplexed a gave him some moo juice. 10 minutes later a guy comes up to me (still busy as hell by the way) complaining that he hadn’t received his long black’s.

(I’m sure by now that you see where this is going but just in case…) The guy that ordered the latte and cap took the black coffees! I mean seriously how can you order two drinks, confirm the “wrong” order twice and still not complain when you realise that the cap and latte are black?!?!?! I have decided it has to be one of these 3 reasons;

1) He’s british and so will not complain! ?

2) He received the black coffee’s and just accepted them as a another poorly made capp and latte that he’s get from anywhere else?

3) (this sort of links to no. 2) He ordered the drinks not really knowing what he was ordering as he doesn’t understand the difference between the drinks?

Probably it’s a case of all three. If we ordered a fried egg sarni and got soup we’d complain right? So why do we not complain when it comes to coffee? This annoys me! We need to complain, really we do! because while the coffee customer just sits back and accepts it the same places will churn out the same crap. How many times have you been asked “so, what actually is the difference between a capp and a latte? Oh really? I thought it was just that a capp had chocolate on top”…Or when a customer asks for an Extra Hot latte because they are so used to having it luke warm. If customers are so used to getting poor quality drinks elsewhere that they don’t question it when they receive a long black instead of a cappuccino then I find this really sad for our industry.

This is why it’s so important to educate our customers what their understanding. When someone comments on our latte/cappuccino art we always explain that (generally speaking) it’s a quality marker and not just a pretty pattern and then explain why. We let them know the best way to enjoy the drink i.e not piling in the sugar until they have tasted it because actually it’s quite sweet. We make sure we guide our customers through their order by explaining the drink’s flavours and characteristics. We Find out what flavours/textures they like and then making a drink to suit. What about when a customer asks for Extra hot or Not much “froth” (shudder) ? I always take time to find out if they really do want it extra hot or just made well. (without being condescending or ignoring what they really want) Do they actually want a wet latte or are they so used to having someone spoon on a crap load of “actual” cold froth? Usually they just want it made right. We offer to remake it if they’re not happy with the way we have made it. 9 times out of 10 they will remark on how much they enjoyed the drink upon leaving and turn into a regular customer.

I did have a “concluding point” to this post but i have become somewhat lost along the way. I think it was “how do we know we are giving them what they want if they don’t know themselves?” but I’m not sure….. Anyway in the words of a well-known american philosopher “Until next time take care of yourselves…..and each other.

Lee

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~ by Lee Wardle on February 7, 2010.

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