Now, if you’re not convinced, let me tell you about Hudsons Coffee.
Hudsons is an anomaly. It’s a coffee chain that actually seems to succeed in Melbourne. We could debate for hours the “why” of that statement – I’m just going to point out that unlike some coffee chains I’ve encountered around the world, when I order a flat white at Hudsons, it tastes like a flat white. And when I ask for a large version, I don’t get a lot of grief about how flat whites only come in one size (small), and that what I’m really after is a tall (or large or ultra), extra-strong no-foam latte.
So actually, what *might* make Hudsons successful is the combination of a quality product that I’m prepared to pay for, delivered with old-fashioned customer service.
As a business, I like Hudsons for the steps the company takes to socialise its customer relationships. A few months ago it held an internal competition for its
baristas. Baristae? Coffee makers. Jack and Sheree from my local store came third – I have no idea who they are or how big the competition pool was, but I feel happy for them that they did well.
This time around, the competition is slightly more sophisticated in terms of bringing customers along for the ride:
Each take-away cup (or a card if you drink it in-store) has your barista’s name on it, so you can log onto the Hudsons website (by clicking that link just back there to your left) and rate your coffee for the chance to win a thousand free coffees of your own.
All of the marketing extensions are opt-in, rather than opt-out, so straight away I feel quite chuffed that I can do the thing I came to do and not worry about exposing myself to push marketing. #winning.
The only catch as I could see is that you have to keep proof of purchase. This is problematic for me as I have no interest in hanging onto a used take-away cup in breathless anticipation of it being magically refilled a thousand times.
Back to the question of socialising your business: this is a great, relatively simple way of forming more human-to-human connections between your staff and your customers. If we think about the relative value of “social business” in the first place, it’s largely this; sure we could argue about the value of a relationship with an employee versus a senior executive, but ultimately what a social business should be doing is embedding greater customer loyalty through mutual benefit…wait a minute…surely that’s not one of those PR things?
I’d be fascinated to know how many customers actually participate in this promotion. It makes for a nice change, not having to Like yet another Facebook page that I’m only going to delete again in a week’s time.
And good luck to the Elizabeth Street team.