How impatient are you? When you are in a coffee shop looking for a cup of black coffee, a typical 46 second transaction, however it takes 10 minutes to get your cup of Joe, are you as impatient as me? All I want is a cup of black coffee.
Long lines in the morning are normal, I guess. But is that OK? All I want is a cup of coffee, no frills. I’m hearing customers place orders that sound almost like a foreign language. Some single cups of coffee shoot up to $5 and there is extra time needed to make that $5 cup. Some coffee shops have helpers, some don’t. I seem to go to one with no helpers.
I’m looking for the express line. Just black coffee. Am I in the majority or minority on this issue? I don’t want a five-dollar version with every ingredient under the sun and a fancy breakfast sandwich; I just want a cup of black coffee. OK, maybe I need to accept that this is the new normal. Maybe not. People talk about this when their frustration levels burst. Comedians make fun of the wait time.
With food options and so many coffee choices today, stopping in to get a cup of coffee is a timely chore. As I was waiting the other day I started to think on how the company I was attempting to give $1.59 for a cup of black coffee could better serve an inpatient customer like me.
I know what you’re saying, just leave, don’t ever go back. But this coffee must have something in it that keeps me hooked. Many people say the coffee has some special ingredient that is addicting. Oh right … caffeine. Maybe that’s why I wait, and the company knows that. (I digress)
While waiting in line, an idea bubbled up. I cannot believe the coffee chain has not thought of this or tried it at a few shops already. Maybe my idea sells more plain coffee and even makes for happy customers. Let me share it with you. It’s simple. Take advantage of our digital age, satisfy the single cup buyer and grow your business.
Put up an electronic tablet (You’ve seen these at certain ‘C-Store’ fast food counters). So simple, anyone can use it. It is just for coffee. This is not located at the counter, but on a wall when you walk in. Hit your size icon, the sugar icon as many times as you want a teaspoon of sugar, same for cream. Swipe your pre-loaded coffee card and you walk up to the special ‘coffee only’ line. Presto. Like magic you are out of there in under 45 seconds (EZ Pass for the coffee drinker). I think it’s a great idea, but something must be stopping them from doing it. I can’t figure out why? This must be above my pay grade.
Now to the point. What about your business? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Can you come up with new systems or processes that will give your customer a better experience? Always keep in mind how you feel as a customer and then ask yourself if you are doing all you can to make the customer experience, in your business, live up to their needs and expectations. Know how to find out? Just ask them.
If the coffee shop did exit surveys, they would have heard this great idea from me and their sales would be up 20% from plain old coffee drinkers who just can’t stand the wait. The truth, when I’m on a tight schedule I leave … can’t wait ...won't wait. You may suggest I wait in the drive through. Now that is an idea. I bet the wait in my car is more pleasant than being in line. OK, I may try that next time. But 15 cars ahead of me is not appealing.
The lesson here is to look at your business from the other side of the counter. Ask your customers about the sign in process and check out process. Find out how time challenged they are. Can the check in or check out process be improved or streamlined? Everything in the service business is situational, but don’t burden your process on your customer if you can find a quicker, better, more streamlined way to create happy customers.
The answers are inside your customer. Can you deliver on their expectations and minimize their frustrations and provide a smooth and easy process? Sure, you can. Take a lesson from the perceptions of our own experience and make it easy to do business. Coffee anyone?
Carm Capriotto, AAP
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