Those in the OCS business know that customer service is key, but one company in particular walks the talk and strives to make customer service its biggest selling point.
Creative Refreshments, Inc., a company of 15 employees led by John Kusner, has had a strong history in the Toledo, OH, area for more than three decades and today is the largest local coffee service provider in the area.
Over the last 23 years Kusner has grown the company from $600,000 in volume in 1994 to more than $2.5 million this year through its main focus on customer service.
Service is No.1
Creative Refreshments has a unique story in that it began with OCS early on and added vending in 2004. “We currently have about 1,000 OCS customers and a lot had vending with them, so when they saw that we could take care of their coffee needs, they trusted us to take care of their vending, too,” said Kusner, whose customers are in both blue and white collar markets.
Customer trust is a large part of the company’s continued success, says Kusner. “We stay in business because the motto for the company is that if we don’t do an excellent job, somebody else will,” he said. “Our service is our first priority and that’s how we gain the confidence of people.” If the company receives an order, it goes out that day and if a customer is in need of a machine repair, it’s taken care of within a 24-hour period. “We make sure everything is running and people are happy with our service,” he continued.
The local company not only puts a focus on serving its customers, but it ensures that it offers its customers desirable products, too.
Single cup grows in popularity
Kusner saw the Keurig craze early on and made sure it was something he could offer his customers. Today he is one of the only Keurig authorized dealers in his area. “A lot of people really want the Keurig product,” he said. Though he has placed some bean-to-cup machines, the majority of placements have been Keurig.
In the last five years he has noticed an uptick in terms of people wanting Starbucks, Caribou Coffee and Seattle’s Best – coffees that he says people recognize in the “outside world.” “People see those [brands] out and about and they want that in the office,” he said.
The company’s best-selling product is its house roast by local roaster Wallingford Coffee Co. and distributed under the name Creative Coffee. “In our own house blend we do nothing but 100 percent Columbian so it’s an upscale coffee our customers like.” The product is sold by the frac pack predominantly, though they do also sell whole beans.
Kusner points to the local aspect as one reason consumers like the product, too. “We’ve had good success here through the years because Toledoans like to buy local,” he said. “They prefer to buy local if they can, so we plan to keep offering Ohio-roasted coffee.”
When it comes to the upcoming year, Kusner is nothing but optimistic. In fact, 2017 is ending on a very high note for the company. “We have a sales team that is aggressive,” Kusner noted. “We have our niche and we are doing it well.”
For the Creative Refreshments team, who Kusner says is the best group of people he has ever had the pleasure of working with, service will still be king. “The service aspect of our business keeps it going. We have to make sure our customers are extremely happy with what we do,” he concluded.