In an exclusive interview, the Managing Director at Coffee Planet, Robert Jones, talks about the company’s 24 hour customer support, rewarding loyalty programs, customer service training and feedback processes. He also highlights the importance of digital platforms for Coffee Planet to stay connected to customers, mentioning social media monitoring tools, the company app and investing into an online store so that customers can place orders from the comfort of their home.
Q: Coffee Planet was categorized in the top seven food and beverage Super-brands in the UAE in 2015. What are some essential factors which make you different from others?
Robert Jones: There are a number of fantastic coffee brands in the UAE and wider region, but there are no other coffee companies that provide a 360 degree approach to coffee solutions for the foodservice industry and consumers alike.
Our aim is to provide the right combination of market leading equipment and the freshest, locally roasted premium coffee, to enable us to serve the perfect solution every time for the foodservice industry including five-star hotels, offices, restaurants, catering companies, airlines and much more.
We also cater to consumers’ on-the-go or at home, with our extensive retail range from freshly roasted, 100% Arabica coffee and Nespresso-compatible single-serve capsules to coffee machines and unique brewing gadgets.
Q: In what ways does your staff ensure a positive and rewarding customer experience?
Robert Jones: Our mission is to provide customers with the finest global Arabica coffee, roasted and delivered perfectly every time, therefore each department within Coffee Planet is responsible for implementing this objective from start to finish.
To guarantee a positive customer experience, we provide 24-hour customer care to enable us to be on standby when a customer needs us. Our level of attention to detail continues with our team of trained technicians and coffee professionals, who visit customers on a monthly basis to ensure the coffee is of the highest quality and the machines are working efficiently to serve great tasting cup every time.
Q: What are some customer service essentials that are incorporated into your staff training?
Robert Jones: We believe it’s important for our staff to carry out their roles with perfection, excellence and flair, while remaining courteous and professional at all times. To enable us to implement quality customer service, we first aim to recruit team members who are passionate about coffee and our products. Through tactics including group and one-on-one role-play scenarios as well as regular training activities, we encourage our staff to ignite their passion for coffee amongst our customers to bring their coffee experience to life in a consistent and informative manner.
Q: What services and features are available to users through the Coffee Planet app and in what ways does it simplify the customer experience?
Robert Jones: Our app is designed to offer easy access to essential coffee information, as well as providing customers with an additional channel to reach out to us.
In addition to our app, our website is an equally important platform to help simplify our customer experience. With dedicated sections for our online store, retail, foodservice and business as well as coffee on-the-go, customers can quickly access exactly what they need to know at the click of a mouse.
Q: What kind of loyalty programs and promotions do you have in place to keep customers coming back to you?
Robert Jones: We strive to deliver compelling promotions to B2B and B2C markets, using a combination of traditional and out-of-the-box tactics to provide quality coffee and support.
For our foodservice customers, we are able to offer competitive pricing alongside regular coffee tastings, training and quality control checks, whenever required. We work hard to identify and quickly solve any challenges our regular customers may face, to ensure they are always happy with their Coffee Planet experience.
For consumers, we have a rewarding loyalty card scheme and we make sure we’re continually offering new and exciting online store benefits with our coffee gifts, kits and subscriptions, providing the best deals on a wide range of products. This includes gift cards, starter kits, retail bundles and three, six or twelve-month coffee subscriptions.
Q: With the rapid growth in digital tools, how much emphasis do you place on social media and website support to respond to customer queries?
Robert Jones: We use social media monitoring tools to watch online conversations and our digital platforms. This ensures we can respond to queries in a timely manner, as social media is one of the best ways to connect with our customers anytime, anywhere.
Our website and social media platforms are important tools for us to increase our visibility and accessibility, so we are able to keep our online conversation channel open with our customers when they need us.
Q: How do you respond to and assess customer feedback and customer satisfaction with the overall Coffee Planet experience?
Robert Jones: We schedule regular one-on-one meetings with our clients as well as providing them with a dedicated account manager, who is readily available to assist with any queries as they arise. We also ask our customers to complete feedback forms, so we can track their levels of customer satisfaction, while enabling us to adapt our services to their requirements.
Q: What are some examples or tips that you can share through which Coffee Planet has turned a negative customer experience into a positive one?
Robert Jones: Sincerity and a detailed evaluation are vital when handling a negative customer experience. We will review the complaint objectively to turn the experience into a positive one as quickly as possible.
With this response structure in place, we strive to exceed customer expectations and we welcome feedback in order to meet customer demands for popular coffee trends and blends.
Q: Please shed some light on the innovations happening at Coffee Planet.
Robert Jones: One of our most recent brand developments includes an update to the look and feel of our retail packaging, which retains the signature red and white color scheme to make it even easier for consumers to find their product.
Towards the end of last year, we also heavily invested in the expansion of our local roastery, which has now more than doubled in size from 6,000 sq. ft. to 14,000 sq. ft.
This recent expansion includes a new production line, which allows us to produce our own freshly roasted, Nespresso-compatible capsules, which have been designed to offer the foodservice industry, offices and at-home consumers the chance to experience a consistent, efficient and speedy solution to freshly roasted coffee. The new range is available in five distinct taste profiles and roast strengths, which have been created by our expert Roastmaster.
Q: What are you planning to offer customers in the near future to elevate their experience?
Robert Jones: In order to further elevate our customer experience here at Coffee Planet, we are undergoing refurbishments to our website to create a simple and easily navigational online experience. This vision includes the promotion and development of our online store, making it even easier for consumers to enjoy Coffee Planet in their own home.
We will also continue to support the market-demand for delicious tasting coffee, by introducing new single origins throughout the year as well as focusing on supporting the ever-growing foodservice industry, as well as increasing our global presence through additional franchise and brand export operations around the globe.
About Robert Jones
First joining the Coffee Planet team in 2007, Robert has championed Coffee Planet’s expansion into the foodservice and retail divisions, as well as successfully developing the brand’s 360 degree solutions to coffee ethos and becoming the largest roaster in the UAE, within his role as Managing Director.
With the primary objectives of helping more people experience the finest global Arabica coffee, Robert is responsible for overseeing the continued development of Coffee Planet’s GCC and wider Asia operations, as well as driving the brand’s international expansion into markets including the UK.
Prior to joining Coffee Planet, Robert worked closely with several small businesses in management positions, whilst studying for his business postgraduate at Cardiff Business School, Wales.
Robert graduated with honors in Computer Science from Kingston University, UK in 2005. As part of his degree, he studied at Harvard University, USA and spent a year in London working for a specialized IT company.