Coffee remains a hot commodity for consumers. Drive Research reported that 74% of Americans drink coffee every day*. In a recent consumer survey conducted by Intouch Insight, 71% of coffee drinkers reported they seek out their favorite coffee brand rather than purchase the most convenient cup. But are brands doing enough to retain these loyal customers?
To measure the current experience being offered by major retailers, we sent mystery shoppers to 60 locations across 4 coffee shops; Caribou Coffee, Dunkin', Peet's Coffee, and Starbucks. Here we’ll look at why over 2/3 of consumers could be one exceptional experience away from finding their new favorite coffee retailer. And, more importantly, how operators can make sure that it's their brand.
Offering A Little Extra
While there is room for improvement, the locations our mystery shoppers visited delivered generally good customer experiences. In 85% of the visits, our shoppers' orders were ready within the estimated time. Beverages were made accurately to the shoppers' orders 88% of the time and overall our shoppers reported being satisfied with their experience 90% of the time.
For more data from our mystery shopping visits, download our infographic here.
However, when we asked our shoppers if there was anything extra that made them glad they purchased coffee from that particular store, 68% said no. And this sentiment was echoed in our consumer survey results. Here, 67% of consumers reported they have not had an experience at a coffee shop that made them glad they purchased coffee from that store.
This presents a major opportunity for brands. While 71% of consumers are going out of their way to purchase their daily cup of coffee from their favorite brand, the above suggests that most brands aren’t doing a lot to continuously earn that loyalty.
Becoming The Brand of Choice
Last year, when we asked consumers which factors influence their decision where to purchase coffee, convenience was the leading factor followed by taste. This year, those prioritizing convenience remained the same while taste and price increased in importance.
Any brand looking to convert consumers to loyal customers will need to address these factors first and foremost. Still, of the consumers who had an experience that made them glad they purchased coffee from a particular store, nearly all their stories had to do with staff interactions.
Capitalizing on these human interactions can make a huge difference in improving overall customer experiences. In fact, our 2023 Emerging Experience Study found that employee interaction had the biggest impact on overall satisfaction.
The results of our mystery shopping visits demonstrate missed opportunities to improve customer interactions. In 28% of their visits, our shoppers reported that the barista did not verify their identity or order details when they picked up their order. This both increases the likelihood of inaccurate orders and is a missed opportunity for a more personal connection.
The customer's name can be confirmed with a simple greeting. For example, “Hi, Dave?” This also has the added benefit of using the customer's name as highlighted in one of the consumer comments above. Once the customer's name is confirmed, the employee can follow up by reading out their order. This serves as a final check that the order is accurate while demonstrating higher care to the customer.
Elevating these interactions is the best way to give consumers a reason to be glad they purchased their cup of coffee from your store. Consistently doing so will ensure you are that favorite brand they go out of their way to purchase from.
Employee training is the first step, but mystery shopping visits like the ones we conducted are the only way to objectively measure the impact of this training. For more examples of the insights the right mystery shopping program can reveal, access our studies here. Or contact our team today to learn how we can help you exceed your customers' expectations.