If there’s one thing that can set your company apart, it’s good customer service – especially for an independent business. And if there’s one person who knows about the importance of customer service, it’s Claudio Ribeiro, owner of Federal Café, one of Manchester’s busiest and best loved brunch spots.
“I always look at hospitality from the customer’s perspective.”
“Independent businesses have that local feel, where people are more invested in providing the service and not just coming into work,” he told us. “They still have that feel of one-off service. You’re not going to get that same service somewhere else.” Perfecting it is an ongoing process of learning and honing – so we asked Claudio to share his expert customer service tips with us. Check them out below.
Nail the basics
“Federal is the friendliest place in Manchester,” says Claudio. “The service is one of the things that sets us aside: a hello as soon as you get through the door, as you leave the chef looks up to say goodbye, the barista looks up to say goodbye, too.” It might seem small, but these small signs of welcome make all the difference – if you’re wondering ‘why is good customer service important’, this explains it all: “We have someone working in the Northern Quarter site called Sarah,” Claudio tells us. “When she’s away we see a decrease in coffee sales, because people come just to see her.”
Think like a customer
What makes good customer service? Start by thinking about yourself. “I always look at hospitality from the customer’s perspective,” says Claudio. “That’s how you need to look at it if you want to make things better: ‘What would I like?’”
Claudio makes a point to be a constant presence in his café, now splitting his time between his two sites. “I like that people know that the owner is there,” he says. “For me, if I went to a cafe where I saw the owner all the time, it would make me feel more confident in the place I’m coming into.”
“I don’t hire anyone who doesn’t want to be here,” says Claudio on his tips for hiring friendly staff. “The ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ – if you don’t do them on your trial, you don’t get the job.” The key is taking your time when training them and make sure you’re getting your best people to help. “Training staff is hard, so I rely on two or three people who’ve worked with me for a long time to help,” Claudio explains.
Fast, easy service makes for happy customers. Choose a POS and payments device that helps keep transactions smooth and error-free.
Keep your staff happy
It’s simple: the better your staff are treated, the more engaged they will be. “We don’t have anyone on minimum wage,” says Claudio. “We pay, if not the highest, one of the highest wages of all the cafés. We’re flexible with days off, even though it’s a pain to do the schedule the week after. But I try to be adaptable because I know it’s important for everyone to enjoy their life outside of Federal.”
Be a role model
As their boss, Claudio explains, staff will always look to you for guidance on how things are done. “Everyone sees how I react to complaints, how I react to people,” he says. “I think that kind of rubs off on the team.”
Keep the conversation open
Create a culture of openness and camaraderie around the way things are running, and keep good customer service and the customer’s experience at the forefront of everyone’s minds. “We have staff meetings where we go through these things, how we treat complaints for example,” Claudio explains. “I think that approach to customer service is just instilled in Federal: that is Federal.”
Choose tech that helps speed up service
“The iZettle card reader really helped us out in terms of the speed of our customers paying,” Claudio told us. Fast, easy service makes for happy customers. So choosing a POS and payments device that helps keep transactions smooth and error-free is essential for enhancing your team’s efforts.
Want to enhance customer service with smooth, speedy checkout, or make stronger decisions with smart reporting tools? iZettle can help make your workday better.
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