I’m sitting on the train on the way home and for the first time i’ve been compelled to post something off my iPhone (forgive the inevitable spelling mistakes).
Having just flicked through Twitter and facebook I’m near on shocked by the amount of people that seem intent on slagging off their customers. Deriding their orders, mocking their choices and lamenting their lack of knowledge is really not something that we should be doing. If anything it speaks volumes about our own inadequacies as an industry.
I’ve spoken with many baristas, roasters and other coffee professionals about how lucky I feel to be part of such a vibrant and thriving industry. I often feel like I’ve come accross a secret and it’s only a matter of time before everyone else clocks on too.
However lately I’ve seen a tendency from people working in coffee ( and admittedly other specialty fields too) to have a pop at customers for not “getting” it.
I think perhaps we should remind ourselves every now and then that ensuring our customers “get” it is in fact our job.
If your customers are ordering large drinks it’s probably because you sell large drinks.
Peoples ability to order syrups is directly linked to the availability of syrups.
If your customers don’t appreciate filter coffee it’s probably because they’ve had a bad experience. It’s up to you to turn it into a positive experience.
If there seems to be a lack of knowledge amongst your customers it’s up to you to fix that without being intrusive or demanding. Engage them, it’s your job!
A wise man (who needs no further praise from this blog) once pointed out to me that by the time you’ve sat down in a restaurant and looked at the menu you know whether its ok to ask for ketchup. What the restaurant industry does really well is build context, and context is everything if you want to guide your customers. If they never ask for it its probably because of two things;
(i) They don’t know it exists
(ii) Their perception of it is different to yours.
The surly Barista is a stereotype that really needs knocking on the head but unfortunately it’s probably a justified one. It’s up to us as an industry to make this easy for our customers and realise that every sarchastic tweet is damaging every other shop in this industry that’s trying to do a good job.
Be nice, our futures depend on it.