Coffee is, at its core, customer service. So yes, you must know about profit and taxes and costs – but you also need to make your customer experience your unique selling proposition.
Your customers can get specialty coffee from almost anywhere, meaning you can’t compete based on product alone. Nor can you compete based on operational excellence, customers aren’t going to choose your café because you’re 5 seconds faster than your competitors – meaning it’s all about customer intimacy.
But fear not, here’s four ways you can bring customer service empathy to the forefront of your business model, without sacrificing your plans and goals.
Create A Coffee Community
Your customers are likely looking for more than just a caffeine fix. They’ll want to be welcomed and to become part of a coffee community. And when you help them feel that, they’ll crave what you offer – because they can’t get that feeling anywhere else, not for the small price of a coffee.
Offer the Latest Favourites, But Don’t Forget Vanilla
Try incorporating some recent flavour trends – but remember to offer a vanilla option too. Not everyone will like your unique offerings, and even those who do will probably want something a little less trendy sometimes.
Consider Customer Suggestions
When you create a coffee community, your customers are going to become your fans, and they’ll have ideas to share with you.
The difference is, you’re a business owner with a vision and they’re customers who may or may not be business-savvy. As such, you might be tempted to discount their suggestions, but be careful.
You may not use it, but if a customer’s suggesting it, at least one customer wants it. Write it down and later on, you can decide whether to adopt, discard, or adapt it.
Share Your Vision
When you decide how to develop your business, remember your vision. What is the purpose behind your business? What are you trying to achieve? By keeping that in mind, you can stay aligned to your goals when making business decisions.
Your customers want to share in your goals. For your customers to invest in and follow your business they need to know what your business stands for.
Make a visual roadmap of your goals, even if it’s just bits of paper filled with scribbles. And once you have your vision visible like that, keep it where you can see it – and maybe even where your customers can.
You’ll discover that, over time, a mutual empathy will grow. And as it does, you’ll create an environment of support and success. Your vision becomes meaningful and, in turn, profitable.
Because, as much as we love the coffee, running a coffee shop is all about the customers.