Leffke noted that 7 Eleven built its business on the value proposition of convenience, not the lowest prices. “They understand the difference between cost and value,” he said.
The fourth strategy is to know what the customers value. “It’s all about how we choose to play the game,” he said.
The fifth strategy is to exceed expectations. Leffke said 75 percent of the customers who were satisfied by a service provider still left them. Those who were very satisfied, on the other hand, were six times more likely to stay with the service provider.
FAIR TRADE, SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC COFFEE: SESSION SPELLS OUT THE DIFFERENCES AND THE SIMILARITIES
For several years, vending and coffee service operators have been hearing about various “cause” coffee programs such as “sustainable,” “Fair Trade,” “organic,” “shade grown,” “bird friendly” and others. Because these labels carry different meanings that sometimes overlap with one another, the recent Coffee Summit included a seminar that explained these different programs.
The session, titled, “Partnering with Customers for Growth,” was led by Eileen Cooke, manager of workforce learning development at AMR Research, and Marie-Claude Dessureault, director of brewing technologies at Van Houtte Inc., the parent company of Filterfresh Coffee Service Inc.
Dessureault began by noting that today’s customers are more educated and more emotional about purchasing decisions. She said there is a lot of misunderstanding about sustainability, which is why operators should get educated about what sustainability really means and should follow a partnership approach in introducing this concept to customers. She said that programs supporting sustainability will allow customers to feel like better citizens.
CUSTOMERS WANT TO BE GOOD CITIZENS
Cooke said many customers want to support companies that are good corporate citizens. “This has a very strong emotional pull for people,” she said. She further noted that 86 percent of Americans are likely to switch to a brand if they know it is associated with a good cause and that 78 percent want companies to talk about positive things they are doing.
Because of this, Cooke said many big corporations today have entire departments focused on sustainability. “Because it is such a widely traded commodity, coffee has a huge impact on people and the environment in what is often some of the poorest countries on earth,” she said. “The simplicity of a coffee program that is green packaged has a huge impact on customers.”
Sustainability is defined as follows:
1) Capable of being sustained.
2) Relating to or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
3) Relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.
FAIR TRADE PRINCIPLES DEFINED
Fair Trade is a different category. Fair Trade has been a leader in promoting sustainability. The principles of Fair Trade are:
1) Guaranteed minimum prices.
2) Fair labor conditions, including the prohibiting of child labor.
3) Direct trade whereby importers purchase from the Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible.
4) Democratic and transparent operating practices. Fair Trade farmers and workers decide democratically how to invest Fair Trade revenues.
5) Commitment to community development, whereby Fair Trade farmers and workers invest in social and business development projects like scholarship programs, quality improvement training and organic certification.
6) Commitment to environmental sustainability, whereby harmful agrochemicals and genetically modified organisms are prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect health and preserve the ecosystem.
Fair Trade coffee is grown by cooperatives consisting of small family farms, Dessureault said, and more orders are being placed with these cooperatives each year.
Dessureault said TransFair USA is the only third party agency that is authorized to certify coffee as Fair Trade in the U.S. “The roasters are audited on a regular basis,” she said.
She noted that offering Fair Trade is a way for coffee operators to differentiate themselves from the competition. “Customers want to deal with suppliers that have sustainable policies,” she said.