Dealing with Frustrated Coffee Shop Customers

Running a coffee shop can be a fun enterprise for individuals who love the culture of coffee, enjoy interacting with people, and find fulfillment from using their entrepreneurial skills to offer a service to the community. When a high quality coffee shop opens up in a community, customers often heave a collective sigh of relief. They will no longer be subjected to the bad coffee found at many diners and fast food restaurants. They can rely on you to provide them with delicious coffee precisely when they need it. For the most part, you'll engage with people who love your business, your coffee, and you.

However, you'll also encounter people who have serious complaints against your coffee shop, your employees, or the owner of the establishment. When you encounter customer service problems, it's important to know precisely how to handle these frustrated coffee shop customers. It can be tempting to be offended and defensive when your coffee shop is attacked. After all, your coffee shop is a labor of love, and you've put a lot into it. However, reacting defensively will not earn you any points with a frustrated customer. Here are some tips for engaging with the disappointed coffee drinkers.

The Power of a Smile

Never forget the power of an honest smile. Don't smile sarcastically or cruelly, of course, but you can disarm even the angriest of customers by giving them an honest and apologetic smile. When they see that you are a person with feelings, they'll be more likely to speak rationally and patiently. This way, you'll be better able to solve their problem and keep a loyal customer.

Do Your Best to Fix the Problem Immediately

When a customer complains about a drink, dessert, or service they have received from your coffee shop, listen carefully to the problem in its entirety. After the customer has finished explaining his or her grievance, do your best to fix the problem immediately. The quicker you can reverse the mistake, the more likely the customer is to be satisfied. If you gave a customer the wrong drink, for example, take the drink back and put the customer at the top of the priority list. Don't do anything else until you've put the right drink in that customer's hand.

The Delayed Negative Reaction

Sometimes, customers won't realize they've been given the wrong order or received bad service until later. They may stew for hours at work before returning to your coffee shop and giving you a piece of their mind. At this point, you cannot simply replace the coffee beverage because the interest in the drink has passed. You can, however, apologize profusely, offer a refund, or offer a gift card for the purchase amount.

Put it Into Perspective

Above all, remember to put customer complaints into perspective. It can be very easy to let one negative customer reaction spoil your entire outlook on your coffee shop. For every one unsatisfied customer, however, you have probably served hundreds of customers who walked away from your shop perfectly pleased with the beverage they received. This simple reminder can keep you positive in the face of customer frustration.