Coffee

Is Your Music Driving Away Customers?

Music is amazing. We use it to enhance the mood, bring back lost memories and even form new ones. But one thing I’ve discovered is that music can be extremely effective in driving away customers.

That’s right, driving away customers. I was in the city and a lifetimeaway from my favourite coffee shop. With a pocket full of change and a head full of ache, I would have given my money to just about anyone for a cup of brown liquid that even resembled coffee!

Then in my coffeeless desert, an oasis appeared. An oasis in the form of a cool coffee cart outside a music shop. The girls behind the cashier were gorgeous and pierced. The menu was scrawled on blackboard surrounded by cargo timber and posters of bands I’ve never heard of. However, as I approached, something strange happened. The closer I got, the less I wanted their coffee.

They had two speakers either side of the register, blasting customers with a face full of high tempo prog rock. I was instantly repelled. But I still soldiered on, grabbed a fistful of change and asked for a flat white to go. “What?!” yelled the cashier. I repeated my order. “You’re going to have to speak up!” She couldn’t hear me over the music. I could feel my face flushing with frustration.

Years ago, I would have grit my teeth and sucked it up. But on that day, I jammed my coins back into my pocket and stormed off without another word.

I’ve noticed this more recently; restaurants, cafes and retail stores all playing music just loud enough so that customers are made to repeat themselves. Is this because the store managers don’t know any better? Does the loud music help keep them awake? Or is it a ploy to move customers through the store quicker? A quick Google search for Millman retail music research will reveal that individuals tend to stay longer when listening to slow tempo tracks when compared with the fast tempo alternative. Food for thought.

– Lachy

Improving The Customer Experience – A Lesson from George

Your product may be a winner, but never underestimate the power of improving the customer experience. Consider the coffee market. You can buy the classic Blend 43 from the supermarket or maybe a nice pre-ground Lavazza from the corner store, but if you want a high-class European coffee experience – you choose Nespresso.

Improving the customer experience

“Just call me George. You’re a club member now.”

Capsules can be ordered online, but the real experience comes from heading into a Nespresso store. The classy interior immediately reminds you of the (in)famous commercials starring George Clooney & Matt Damon, as smartly dressed employees patiently guide you through the different coffees and their apparent (apologies to coffee aficionados) differences. Deep inside you’ll even find a man in an expensive suit sitting behind an oak desk, fingers on his keyboard ready to serve you. You know… so you can buy coffee. The first time you go to the counter, you’re presented with your matte-finished members’ card to ‘The Nespresso Club’ – of which I presume Clooney is a member.

Why as as Nespresso Do? It’s about improving the Customer Experience

It may seem excessive, but even the most cynical consumer will have trouble separating the Nespresso ‘experience’ from the Nespresso ‘product’. And ‘sophisticated’ isn’t the only flavour of experience on offer. Take the Messages On Hold ‘experience’ – it’s all about fun and responsive customer service. We send comedy cards and cheeky customised voicemails starring Shane Warne to our clients and our promotional videos feature our CEO in wacky scenarios complete with animated ‘POWS!’ and zany sound effects.

A product can be rationally evaluated and compared. An emotionally significant experience cannot be debated. Do you, like many aspiring businesses, offer a great experience? What ways can you employ to improve your customer experience?

– Jakub

The Element of Surprise; Surprisingly Easy

Do you remember the good old days when you didn’t have to pump your own petrol? I don’t, because I was born in the nineties. But I’ve heard great things about those pre-World Wide Web times; milk delivered to your door step, corner shops where the shopkeeper knew your name, bank tellers that were neither automatic nor machines. But those little customer service quirks have gone the way of the dinosaur and the human race has evolved to have lowered expectations to help cope with this changing climate.

My generation is getting used to poor customer service to a point where we don’t even know what we’re missing out on. We’re desensitized to video game violence and waiters who won’t make eye-contact. While this may make us an apathetic lot, it also makes us strangely easy to surprise.

A bar in Perth recently announced it was going to go against the norm and sell coffee for $2.50. Big whoop. But in Perth, this is newsworthy because we’ve been subjected to coffee that’s on average 40 cents more expensive than the rest of the country.

So why not take advantage of these lowered expectations and surprise your disgruntled customers with some good old fashion service? Your customers will either react like this guy (watch the video, I’ll wait here until you’re done) or they’ll be so surprised by the interaction that it will become an anecdote shared by word of mouth or across social media.

The Interaction

The Interaction

There are many examples of customers making waves across social media, some good, and some bad. One positive example is the story of the Dragon and the Kangaroo. When the Galaxy SIII was released a man asked Samsung Canada for a free one and attached a picture of a dragon he had drawn for them.  Samsung apologised to the man, stating that they could not afford to send everyone a new phone who asked. Pretty run of the mill response, except for one interesting addition; they complimented his dragon and gave him a drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle in return.

The man was charmed, took a screenshot of the conversation and posted it on Reddit with the caption “Well, Samsung Canada has won me over”. The image went viral and Samsung Canada gained the image of a cool, laidback and friendly company.  But then they took one step further. As a token of their appreciation for the positive media, they sent the man a one of a kind Samsung Galaxy SIII customised with his drawing of the dragon. (And of course, that photo made the rounds online as well).

The Payoff

The Payoff

Now I’m not suggesting you dish out free products to your customers, but they are likely to be surprised by outstanding customer service. They’ll also want to tell their friends. So take advantage of Generation Y’s careful combination of lower expectations and desire to share every life event online. You never know what will go viral.

– Emily