Tips & Tricks for Teaching Consumers

At Your Counter

• Don’t just rely on your baristas to educate consumers. Roasters, counter staff, managers and everyone else can play a role. Make sure they know their stuff—or they know who to ask for additional information—and that they understand that they are welcome to interact with customers in a teaching environment.

• Have your baristas introduce customers to each other. Not only will customers start to consider your cafe as “their place,” they’ll start to converse with each other about coffee, thus elevating everyone’s knowledge and curiosity.

• Educating consumers in a face-to-face situation can be tricky and requires that the barista pay attention to body language, conversational tone and current knowledge. A newbie will benefit from basic information in plain language, those with intermediate or advanced knowledge will get geeked about more complex topics, and those with improper knowledge need to be giving the correct information without being made to feel stupid or embarrassed.

In Your Café

• Get creative with your point-of-service materials. While company-sponsored items like menus, table tents and posters can provide information, a little personal touch really captures consumer interest. Chalkboards, drawings, personal photos and more can elevate your POS items into great conversational and educational opportunities.

• Don’t just throw all of your information into your point-of-service materials or you’ll risk the chance of overwhelming your consumers. Instead, choose two or three bits of information that can pique interest and open conversations.

• When designing POS materials, remember that different people have different ways of digesting information. A nice balance of images, text and bullet points can catch most everyone’s attention.

On the net

• Don’t hesitate to use the newest technologies and social media options to reach your customers. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare—there are any number of ways to invite consumers to partake of your virtual offerings.

• On the other hand, choose your options wisely. Too many can overwhelm consumers, making them feel less like part of your community and more like means to an end.

• Use great visual. People are drawn to photos and videos. To use these to their best advantage, make sure everything looks professional and remember to include educational components (without putting your viewers to sleep).