Every Coffee Business Owner Needs To Ask Their Customers These Five Questions
One of the coolest parts about working with big technology clients is that sometimes they give me access to fancy reports to use as research. I’m talking the $2,000+ kinds of reports that normies like you and me see the price and think, “Wait, huh?!”
In early 2020, one of these reports revealed something that changed the way I think about branding, marketing… everything related to business.
By the end of 2020, customer experience will be the #1 brand differentiator, overtaking price and product.
(Here’s a link to a shorter free version of that report – it’s pretty interesting.)
That means, the way your customers interact with and feel about your brand is more important than the quality of your product, the price of your product, and a bunch of other factors.
So What’s It Got To Do With Coffee Businesses?
In coffee, most of us sell the same products around the same price. Chances are your competitors get their beans from the same few importers. We’ve talked about this a lot.
Rather than centering your marketing on your product, coffee businesses who market on the experience stand to win.
The key is knowing which parts of the experience your customers love, and which parts need to go back to the drawing board.
There’s no better way to discover what your customers love (or don’t love) about your experience than to… wait for it… ask them.
The trick is knowing which questions to ask to access those deeper emotional triggers. Surface-level questions get surface-level answers. Digging deeper is where the gold is.
Here’s how I like to get to that gold.
The 5 Customer Research Questions You Should Try ASAP
Don’t make this complicated. Just ask a smattering of customers if they can spare 4-5 minutes to answer a few questions. If you’re in a coffee shop setting, straight up ask someone who you have a good relationship with. If you’re selling online, send a personal email.
Ideally, you want to quickly interview 10-20 customers at a variety of loyalty levels. Your superfans will respond differently to casual, infrequent purchasers, and knowing the difference between a casual and superfan means you can actively try to make more casual fans into superfans.
Start with a personal catch-up question or two to make them feel at ease, then give these questions a spin.
Was there anything about your company that really stuck out to you when you first learned about us?
This question can help you understand the first impression you give. Do people instantly feel welcome when they walk through your door? Does your Instagram give off a vibe that’s not true to your brand?
People remember three parts of any experience: the beginning, a “peak moment“, and the ending. You really want to nail that first impression, and this will give you a sense for how well you’re doing.
What made you want to come back a second time?
The second transaction signals success, not the first. Anyone can acquire a customer, but you have to earn their repeat business.
This question helps you identify what things about your business matter so much that they’ll keep coming back.
Is there anything that made you hesitate to come, anything that rubbed you the wrong way?
No experience is flawless, and even your best customers have things that bug them. The more of these questions, hesitations, and barriers you can identify and resolve, the easier it will be earn repeat business.
What does buying from us actually do for you personally that doesn’t happen other places?
The obvious answer is, “I get a nice caffeine boost with something that tastes delicious.” When they say that, shut your mouth. Give them a moment to process the question and look a little deeper.
Read: The Smile Test: Break Out Of Un-Memorable Customer Experiences
There are more specific benefits that your experience provides over other shops / ecommerce stores. Perhaps you’re faster than other shops, and customers know they can rely on you to be quick when they’re busy. Maybe your online coffee selection page makes it really easy to find a coffee they’ll love.
Be patient – they’ll give more details if you give them the space to.
If your company closed tomorrow, what would you miss the most?
Here’s the rub. What do you really mean to your customers? What will they be distraught about if you were to suddenly disappear? And what doesn’t really make that big of a difference?
Bonus: Where would you go for coffee instead if we closed?
What competitors do your customers perceive to be most closely aligned with their values? It’s good to keep an eye on your competition…
I’d love to hear how your research process goes. Do these questions work for you, or do you have any to add? Reach out and let me know!
Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden
Freelance Coffee Marketer
I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.
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