10 Little Extras For Winning OCS Service

Aug. 1, 2017

Office coffee service or OCS providers are held to a higher service standard. Their customers expect more professionalism and a superior quality to what is available from retailers. It turns out that this can be an OCS providers secret weapon. To take advantage of it, operators must be ready with benefits and strategies that go above and beyond. Here are some common "extras" real operators have used to improve their OCS rating among customers.

1. Personal touches

Often a delivery driver or technician aims to get in, and get out. Instead, train them in customer service. Make it part of their job to seek out the decision maker at the account and let them know what was done. Was the filter cleaned? Did they notice the location was low on sugar? Have them offer to add items to the next order. Make sure they know cleaning was performed. The goal is proactive. Friendly reminders of the quality of your service sends the signal that your OCS company is taking good care of them.

2. Style over function

This is subjective and very regional, but overall consider the location asking for office coffee service. Your equipment won't be used (nor services retained) without modern looking coffee equipment. Many OCS customers are looking for something special, hoping for the sleek, sophisticated looking brewers. That means you should be educated on what's new and what might appeal to the new class of coffee drinker (as well as any limitations that can be brought up or overcome).

3. Branding

In many cases, the people drinking the coffee from the break area aren't the decision maker. Educate them on the coffee being served by promoting the national brand or the local aspect. Use marketing and brand materials from the coffee supplier to engage the coffee drinker. It will not only result in more coffee sales, but a feel good corporate moral that will be passed up the corporate ladder.

4. Cups and lids

Don't provide top of the line brewers and then skimp on cups and lids. Match the quality of the disposable cups and lids to the location. Put your branding or the coffee branding on the cups, or leave them blank to provide a more high-end feel. If using recycled or compostable materials, include that information either on the cups or with signage near the dispenser.

5. Variety

Today's location likes quality, but they also want choices. Provide choices in as many areas as you can. Offer all the new sweetener options. Provide tasting of the different whiteners and flavorings at on-site sampling event. This creates excitement around the coffee program, and can also increase

how much the location spends. Don't forget to incorporate a number of teas varieties as these are gaining in popularity. Update customers on what is new or what products are selling well. Knowing the item is a trendy, best seller might be the nudge the customer needs to make the purchase.

6. Presentation

Is a plastic organizer for cups, lids, creamers, etc. on the counter enough? Or could you spend a little more money on the display of accessories and achieve a more impressive presentation? There is a reason (or lots of reasons) why retailers spend thousands of dollars to update their store displays and freshen interiors. Consumers can tell. Consider how spending pennies more on high-quality displays might equate to better relations with a customer and ultimately more sales. Remember, OCS customers expect more.

7. Filtered water

This is an easy add on. The filter will make the coffee and tea taste better, help keep the brewers working longer and don't require visiting a location more often. Drivers can change filters during regular OCS stops. Great tasting water also fits into the healthy workplace mentality, making it a great amenity. Plus, there are a number of modern dispensers that can add carbonation and flavoring to water to really punch up the offering into something special.

8. A "yes" mentality

Long time business owners who know the numbers and margins can tell almost instantly if a location will be profitable. For unprofitable locations, instead of saying "no," gauge their interest and come up with a solution that would still be profitable. Consider putting a minimum order dollar amount per month in the contract in order to provide that bean-to-cup brewer (and the location gets invoiced for the difference).

9. Open communication

When sales are sluggish at a location, or services are being slowly dropped, don't immediately pull out equipment. Gather numbers on sales, the cost of equipment and servicing equipment. Then have a candid conversation with the decision maker at that location about the declines and solutions that could be incorporated. If the location has the budget, but a small head count, perhaps it's a matter of invoicing for a certain dollar amount each month to maintain the high level of service.

10. The overall space

Technology and other large companies are putting more design thought into break areas. They are hiring interior designers to add natural light, flexible seating options, power stations, greenery and more. Consider how your services fit into the new workplace café concept. Take your que from coffeehouses and restaurants to ensure the counter and area around the brewer is eye-catching, not an eye-sore. Consider adding sophisticated touches such as glass mugs or a pastry display case into the service to help the location set themselves and their OCS apart. Keep it fresh and sophisticated looking to match the look and feel of the area.