Is coffee an important part of your business day?
Last week I took an early train down south from Edinburgh. In my pocket was a complete, stamped Caffé Nero loyalty card.
I decided to buy a huge coffee to make my early start more bearable. As I stood at the Caffé Nero Express kiosk at Waverley station I asked for a Caffe Nero Grande Americano black coffee.
The lady checked again whether I wanted milk. I replied, “No, just black.”
She accepted my stamped loyalty card and I took my free coffee with me on the train. I settled into my seat as the East Coast train lumbered out of Waverley station and into Calton Tunnel.
I peeled the top off my coffee cup.
And my heart sank.
Staring back up at me was white coffee. I am lactose intolerant and so I couldn’t drink the coffee I was so looking forward to savouring. I asked my immediate neighbours in the carriage if they’d like a white Coffee. One lucky gentleman accepted my cup with a smile.
But I felt annoyed. How much clearer could I have been? East Coast trains Coffee is not as tasty as Caffe Nero coffee.
I tweeted Caffe Nero but of course received no reply. I imagine they must receive thousands of tweets per day.
Over 12 hours later I arrived back at Edinburgh Waverley station. I went along to the Caffe Nero Express kiosk and explained what had happened during my early morning visit. The gentleman in the kiosk immediately apologised and furnished me with two completed loyalty cards. He did this without questioning my story. Nor did he have to refer to a supervisor or a colleague to make me happy.
I immediately felt better and Caffe Nero will stay on my Christmas card list.
So many times these days staff are not allowed to make such gestures without referring up the line. Empowerment in these circumstances is important to keep customer loyalty.
I remember visiting the Ritz-Carlton chain of hotels in the USA a few years ago and going behind the scenes to get some business ideas. They allow every one of their employees to spend up to $100 to look after a guest. They do not have to refer to a supervisor or manager. They use their discretion. This means that the service they deliver is exceptional.
Would you allow your staff to make such a decision without referral?
Now it’s your turn: I love stories about great customer experiences. If you’ve been wowed by a response similar to mine please share your story. Leave a comment or post a link to your own website or blog.