Good Service: Customers Explain it in Their Own Words

Coffee service operators got a rare chance to learn what customers want from their coffee service providers during the Coffee Summit in Cherry Hill, N.J. Keynote speaker Leo Fante, director of business development at Consumer’s Choice Coffee in Louisville, Ky. presented videotaped interviews with customers who explained why they like Consumer’s Choice Coffee.

One account manager said Fante is the most passionate coffee advocate she has ever met. Another said he was impressed by having a high ranking company official such as Fante making frequent visits to his location. “We know he’s wholeheartedly into his job,” the customer said.

“There should be a Leo Fante with all my vendors,” another customer said.

A catering coordinator for a law firm was impressed by the fact that Fante is always smiling.

At the end of the video presentation, Fante asked his listeners what their customers would say about their service. If any dissatisfaction exists, operators have knowledge and resources at their disposal.

Fante said operators should have mission statements that are concise and tied to excellence; something that all employees can recite.

“I want to be the very best vendor that location has, period,” Fante said.

He noted the importance of external perception. This means having a “tour ready” truck for customers to see on short notice.

“Do you track to improve customer response time?” Fante asked his listeners.

Are all team members coffee experts? If not, Fante urged operators to invest in employee education.

“Does your roaster know what your goal is for your company?” Fante asked.

He said the delivery person should be able to answer questions about grinding, packaging and brewing. Brewing standards, said Fante, include time, temperature and turbulence; the three “Ts.”

Employees need to know about issues like heavy weight versus high yield coffee. “Heavy weights is where our industry needs to go today,” he said.

Competition in OCS today is such that an operator must have high quality coffee. “It has to really be competitive with what’s on the market now,” Fante said.

Customer service at Fante’s company includes having an espresso cart manned by a trained barista at special events. At one such event, he noted the line at the espresso cart was longer than the line at the regular bar. Fante himself wore a costume to one such event.

Fante said operators should have a goal for every customer and use this as the basis of interacting with the customer.

Fante ended his presentation by challenging listeners to gather their own customer testimonials and bring them to the next Coffee Summit.