This post was inspired by recent Twitter conversations with other local coffee professionals. The catalyst was this tweet, linking to an interview on Eater.com;
— Simon Ouderkirk (@saouderkirk) March 26, 2012
If you haven’t read the interview, definitely do!
Out of the Twitter conversation came some questions that stick with me;
– Is there some responsibility to be placed on a customer during a service interaction? Put another way, is it possible for an interaction in a hospitality situation to go poorly, and the fault lies squarely on the customer? Do we (as coffee professionals) need customers to be in a certain mindset for our hospitality to take root? If so, what does that say about our industry?
– What does it mean to serve a customer? Does it mean to provide them exactly what they want, even if you dislike it? Does it mean to exercise expertise and provide them the best thing you can, even if their (perhaps uninformed) desires point elsewhere? How is it good service to sell something you’re not proud of? How is it good service to deny a customer’s desires? Where do good service and business acumen intersect?
– Do we put too much weight on the actual, personal interaction when we think about service? How positive does an interaction have to be to overcome a bad context? A dirty store? Does lovely latte art outweigh a sloppy barista?