What Coffee Teaches Us About Service

by Lauren Henderson

image1[1]I intentionally skipped a step getting ready this morning. Don’t worry it wasn’t anything critical like deodorant or brushing my teeth, I just left my hair a little undone. Why did I sacrifice beauty for an extra five minutes? That’s easy, an extra five meant I would have time to stop by my favorite local coffee stand on the way to work.

Now, this coffee shop’s service is a little slower than your average Starbucks drive-thru and their prices are considerably higher than McDonalds and my local Chism Travel Center but their service and their coffee — oh their coffee — is markedly better than both.

As I pulled behind three other vehicles, I sorted through emails, watched the clock and got my cash ready. A few minutes later, I inched forward, rolled down my window and hastily responded to the employee waiting at the window, “One venti, nonfat latte, one pump vanilla, please,” I said. The employee grabbed an oversized cup — required by only the most committed coffee drinkers — and artfully started making my morning brew.

While waiting, I thought to myself, “Isn’t it funny how even when not at Starbucks their cup sizes are still the standard?” I had ordered a “venti” drink and even though this coffee stand’s cups were clearly marked “small, medium and large” on the menu, the employee knew what I meant. Without hesitation, he’d grabbed the right cup. Somewhere along the lines, whether they were my favorite coffee shop or not, Starbucks had set the standard.

Who is setting the service standards in the quick lube industry? Is it you? Even if you’re not the biggest chain, look and see what others are getting right, what they can improve on and then do it better! That’s what coffee can teach us about oil changes. Now to make my way through this giant cup of joe! (Just kidding, I already finished it!)