Customer Experience Featured Article

Improving Customer Experience for the Cafe Workforce

February 03, 2015

We talk a lot about providing a better customer experience, or a better employee experience, but what about the experience of the customer that is also an employee, or in other words, the remote worker. Plenty of remote workers are content to conduct business from a home office or dining room table, but there is a whole legion of others looking for the right coffee shop or diner to settle into for a few hours of productivity.

The remote workforce has exploded in recent years, largely due to the boom in mobile technologies. In turn, a new culture of work habits has evolved, in which remote professionals opt for a public space to do private work. The idea isn’t a new one—people have been doing work in public libraries for ages, for instance—but as businesses grow to accommodate the café workforce, the trend is reshaping the way certain establishments approach the customer experience. This is because remote workers now make up a sizable chunk of their regular customer bases. Providing a great customer experience to these workers means developing stronger customer retention rates, and even drawing in new remote workers.

Imagine Starbucks, where on any given day one might find one or 10 or 20 patrons situated at tables in front of computers and tablets, sipping a latte and picking at a pastry while they type away diligently. But it’s not just coffee shops. Notice more places offering free Wi-Fi these days, such as gyms and hotels? Or spy some people in suits gathered with laptops around a table at your local Panera Bread? These all blend into a new trend that, in a recent Forbes column, Micah Solomon referred to as the “alone together” customer experience trend, in which “the guest, customer or traveler who craves a communal setting where, paradoxically, she can do private work.”

Businesses that offer flexible, open spaces where people can comfortably set up shop will find that they can attract this new kind of customer to their establishment. Millennials in particular are pushing this “alone together” trend of communal, informal work spaces, and as they take over the workforce at large, businesses with some foresight are beginning to cater to this kind of demand. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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