Getting a 5-Star Cup of Coffee from Pret

Do You Remember Your Customers’ Needs?

To be fair, probably not everyone will agree that Pret’s coffee deserves five stars. Their service, however, is certainly first-rate. As someone who needs his coffee while working from home, I pop by the Lee Gardens Pret outlet at Causeway Bay. This is for coffee once or twice a week. Last week, I reached the shop earlier than usual as I had to prepare for an early meeting. The service crew was busy making the necessary preparations to receive customers. I picked out the food that I wanted and waited at the cashier. 

A barista named Takiya was setting up the espresso machine. Suddenly, he turned his attention to me and asked, “Will you be having your usual iced soy latte?” Since I only visit the shop once – twice at best – this came as a pleasant surprise. Baristas spend 90% of their time back-facing the cashier counter. What’s more, since everyone dons a mask in this current pandemic, how did he recognize me? How did he correctly remember how I wanted my coffee? That customer service experience was exceptional. Of course, being the “busybody” that I am, I promptly sent in an email praising the remarkable service rendered to me!

Delve Into Every Aspect of Your Customer’s Journey

True coffee connoisseurs will probably be found patronizing specialty coffee shops instead of coffee chains like Pret. The coffee sold in most chain coffee shops is unlikely to be anything spectacular. Let’s put it in another way. There are probably 80% of customers who wouldn’t be able to discern a good cup of coffee even if they hand-picked high-quality beans. To them, having a cup of coffee in the morning may simply be a habit – a go-to drink to accompany breakfast or a caffeine boost after a lack of sleep the previous night. 

How can this be applied in the broader context to popular, well-established brands? The quality of their product or service is already undeniable. While it may not be necessary to pursue unparalleled quality, it would provide an indelible impression on customers. If brands do well to offer a cohesive, seamless user experience, it builds customer loyalty. From your storefront to the internal layout and feel of the store to making payment, each process and touch point contributes to the customer’s journey and shopping experience.

Being recognized by the barista at Pret and having him recall my preference for my coffee completely surpassed my expectations. It would be impossible to expect every shop or member of the service crew to be attuned to the individual needs of all customers that walk through their doors. Yet, offering such a personalized, high-quality user experience is possible in digital marketing.

Woo Customers Through Social Media

Whether you are a marketer or not, you don’t often see integrated brand marketing across its social media pages and websites in Hong Kong. I’m not referring to simply publishing the company’s website URL on its social media posts or vice versa. This is a basic thing that brands should do. There are even some brands that do not bother to put in the effort, simply using social media as their main website.

Here’s the reality. Having your website is a good thing. Imagine this scenario. Your target audience clicks into your webpage because of some social media content generated by your brand. This shows that your prospective customer is interested in your product offering. They may have put off making an actual purchase for some reason or another. Perhaps he needed to return to work since lunch has ended, or his attention turned to reply to a WhatsApp message. He leaves your website, having taken no action.

This is where a brand can do a good job at remarketing. By showing information relating to your prospective customer’s browsing history, brands can put out advertising content that resonates with their target audience on Facebook, Instagram, and other websites. The ads that they see are personalized based on what they were browsing on your website. By offering a highly personalized online customer service experience, brands can persuade a customer who has already “left the store” to return.

Besides remarketing and retargeting, email marketing that makes use of tailored, varied content and a customer-centric algorithm are also a good way to personalize the user experience. Thus, it translates into more effective marketing and sales. Email is no longer about sending mass emails. But this is a topic for another day, so stay tuned.


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