December 16, 2017

Customer Service is Everything

The following is a guest post by Alexander Brooks

Last week I had a terrible customer experience with one of my favorite coffee shops in Seattle. I've been going to this coffee/cafe shop at least twice a week to grab lunch or dinner for the past year. This place always has a friendly vibe topped with incredible food and service. Today I'm going to discuss some of the ways to build great customer service for your business.

I decided to spend a few hours at my favorite coffee shop to get dinner and work through some programming challenges. After getting carried away problem-solving for about an hour, I was confronted at my table by one of the waitresses with a menu. Keep in mind, this is a place in which you come to the cash register when you're ready to order. The waitress says, let me know when you're ready to order. There's two of us at this table, but I'm the only person that receives a menu. I decided to think of what kind of snack I want for the evening and drifted back to work. I was then confronted by the same waitress again stating I have to order food and can't use the internet unless doing so. The waitress was short with me and walked away right after making her statement.

Consistency is Key

Creating consistently great service experiences keeps customers coming back. As a business owner, I'm always observing both good and bad customer service experiences. I'm a consistent customer at this cafe who actively brings friends here to try out the food as well. Warren Buffet once said, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it." Although I still like this place, my excitement and interest have changed due to this experience. By having a system that identifies consistent customers this experience could have been avoided.

Know Your MVP Customers

There's value in knowing who the MVP customers are and how they impact your business. By simply collecting data on purchase activities, you can identify your most consistent customer. Having this information can create opportunities to provide rewards programs that can lead to increase customer engagement. One of the local bakeries in Seattle does a great job of having a rewards program set up for consistent customers. Wild Rye is a local bakery and sandwich shop in the downtown area of Seattle. They provide me with a free sandwich of choice after every eight purchases at their restaurant. Although your business model may not fit this type of rewards program, this is an example of a way to engage with your MVPs.

Customer Service Strategy

With the internet, it takes a few seconds to find dozens of great customer service strategies to employ in your business. If this cafe had a system that notified the staff when a high volume customer makes a purchase, my experience could have been completely different. As your business grows, make sure you're looking for ways to use customer data to add value to their experience.

Alex Brooks is the founder and CEO of AE Brooks, LLC (dba Entreprov), a Seattle-based firm that helps small and medium-sized businesses increase their customer base and extend lifetime value of current customers through machine learning and business strategy. Mr. Brooks may be contacted at

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