Grabbing a coffee on the way to work recently, I was made to wait a few minutes in Pret A Manager as the barista hadn’t heard his colleague shout out my order.
I didn’t mind though as the server was cracking jokes about why he was making me wait, plus the coffee chain’s service is usually – and famously – excellent. When my coffee arrived, he insisted I take a free croissant for my troubles.
I told my wife, and she said she has been given free drinks at the branch near her office, sometimes for just looking cheerful.
What I love about this level of customer service is how effortless it feels. When a branch is busy, there will be dozens of staff members serving, shouting out orders, calling customers forward from other queues. But when they’re quiet, staff are automatically out front refilling and facing up stock. In comparison, my local Co-op has a sign up in view of customers saying fill this up, wipe that, stack this and the only thing missing is the instruction to smile.
One of Pret’s instructors says training is focused on making staff understand the reason for doing certain things, like hairnets being blue so you can easily see if a piece falls in food. It also aims to create a passion for food so staff can explain, for example, that tortillas date back to Mayan culture when they were made between rocks. Mystery shoppers, meanwhile, reward staff for maintaining the ‘Pret buzz’ with awards and hard cash.
The little things, that often needn’t cost a penny, can earn you a reputation as a store shoppers enjoy visiting as well as customers for life
For this week’s guest column, HR specialist and former supermarket manager Debra Lee shares seven ways for you to build a workforce and culture that represents your own business values.
The little things, that often needn’t cost a penny, can earn you a reputation as a store shoppers enjoy visiting, as well as customers for life.