Providing coffee in the office has always been about delivering a benefit to employees. The new and improved brewers and single-cup systems have elevated the productivity and retention power of coffee service into a way to create a superior corporate culture. Greenville, SC-based Merus Refreshment Services, Inc. has been delivering this to other companies since 1998; therefore owners, Steve Bailey, CEO, and Steve Gilcrease, president, know what effective incentives can mean for the bottom line. As they grew from a point-of-use water cooler provider to specialists in office coffee service (OCS) they kept a focus on their own company's atmosphere. They set goals and incentives as well as regular training to assist employees in succeeding, in addition to all the free coffee employees can drink. It ensures Merus Refreshment Services is able to deliver on its promise of excellent service.
Annual incentives for all
Merus Refreshment Services, Inc. offers an annual trip to employees for meeting revenue and business goals. The incentive trip is extended to all employees, and their spouses or guests. The trip is offered at two different times. Half the staff goes on the first trip, and the rest go on the second trip so there is always staff to service customers.
"Our annual trip is the 27th of this month," said Bailey. He and Gilcrease are taking roughly 50 people (25 employees and their guests) to the Omni resort on Amelia Island, FL. "Everyone is working hard now to make the 2018 trip happen," Bailey added.
Turning drivers into sales people
It has been important to Bailey and Gilcrease to help their employees succeed in providing high quality service and meeting goals, therefore they focus on training for both route delivery personnel, or what the company calls route sales people, and outside sales people. While the common theme of training is always about customers, how it is delivered varies.
“Route sales people have a ‘I need to get back to my route’ mentality,” said Bailey. It's a positive attribute, so Bailey and Gilcrease work with this dedication. Instead of scheduling long training sessions that would keep them away from their routes, the company holds shorter, 2-hour training sessions monthly. The topics are generally internally developed and run as modules. A recent example Bailey shared was "Understanding The Customer's Perspective," focused on making sure drivers hear what the customer actually means, which is not always what they say. Another example training was "Properly Rotating Inventory and Maintaining Equipment."
Their six outside sales people also receive training. It is set up to be a full day and covers a wide range of topics from documentation to corporate reminders that set the right tone.
“This is something we do over and over because it’s so important,” said Bailey.
Merus Refreshment Services is a paragon of service with a customer-centric focus. It is also dedicated to maintaining a positive corporate culture that sets it apart. Bailey and Gilcrease see a positive future for their independent OCS business in the years ahead.