It has been a week, I am taking Barista Training at The Barista's Coffee School, Dillibazar. And, today was the customer service training. Let's say more like a practical test where you act professionally like a service provider and along with it, you let all your nervousness pour in each cup of coffee you serve. That's what I felt today.
Since I am taking the private class in the morning, I was combined with the afternoon batch for the customer service experience. Altogether we were 7 and we were divided into 2 groups. I was in the first group which was named CABA (since we have four characteristics of espresso i.e. Crema, Aroma, Body, and Acidity. And, coincidentally we had four members. So, we named our group CABA thinking that each member represents each characteristic without which the espresso is incomplete).
I placed my self in greeting and order taking and the other three were behind the counters ready to brew. As the clock started ticking, I mixed all my excitement and nervousness together, my first mistake.
I showed up with a menu and greeted the customers, "Hello Sir, Welcome to BCS. How can I help you?" Trust me! You might be imagining that I greeted them with a smile and in a calm way but hell NO!! I greeted them in such a rush as if I am going to miss my train.
After taking an order I marched back to the counter and call the order loudly so that my team can hear it and so they could recall it. But we made a mistake again. I called out loud, and in a rush, they started brewing forgetting to recall. And I didn't even dare to remind them.
I served the first order that was hot chocolate. It went all good.
Second, order all good but the third order just turned upside down.
One of the customers ordered Flat white, in a rush, my team mates made the flat white, which had a very little amount of velvet foam and was served in a 100ml cup, making it less like flat white and more like Piccolo. I was so busy in useless rushing and babbling that I forgot to figure out whether it is perfectly flat white or not and I just shove it off.
The customer called me up and complained that it is not the cup of coffee that he ordered, apologizing and taking the cup back to the counter. Worrying and rushing, my team mates made the baby latte but again another mistake, we served Cafe Latte. BOOM!!! Kill me. Not only that.
I made sure that I would present it in a perfect way: spoon and napkin at the right side and sugar sachet at the left. I made sure about it and served it to the customer but unknowingly the set up was in his opposite direction. Since my right was his left. I forgot to rotate the plate.
MISTAKES: a. served the wrong drink.
b. plus in the opposite arrangement.
One ordered Iced Mocha, the drink was perfectly made but while serving, to be stupid enough I placed the Pilsner glass over the saucer plate, while I should have placed Pilsner glass at the top left of the salver tray and saucer plate & napkin separately. Because while serving I was shaking so badly that at one point of time I literally thought I would pour Mocha all over the lady.
The other customer called me up and ordered 'Milk Tea'. Now, again being stupid enough and mixing the knowledge of barista I literally thought if people would ask for milk tea we would serve Cafe Latte. I called up my team mates and said he wants Milk Tea, my team mates being correct and confident said," We don't serve milk tea." But mixing my knowledge like a scrambled egg I said, "No, we do. We serve Cafe Latte when any of our customers order Milk Tea." My team mates didn't even take a second to think and rushed to counter. Since we were bounded by a time limit, our brains were more rushed up, nervous and juggling every beverage.
The customer was one of our teachers and he called me up and asked," Do we really serve milk tea? Do we even have tea leaves?" Holding the Salver Tray tightly I said, " I guess so if I am not wrong we call Cafe Latte as Milk Tea." I could see the shock in his eyes and he instantly replied," I said Milk Tea, Nepali Chiya, which needs Tea Leaves and we don't have tea leaves." At that point of time, I could literally feel my heartbeat and my nervousness taking me over and over. Instantly, I apologized and asked if he wants to place another order. He ordered for Extra Hot Cafe Latte.
I rushed to the counter call out the order. The order was ready but the thing is one of my team mates mistakenly topped the Extra Hot Cafe Latte with chocolate syrup. As soon as I saw that she was topping it with chocolate syrup I rushed in her direction and said, "We don't top Cafe Latte with chocolate". At that particular moment, we literally felt like we have done something wrong. A huge bold red cross. "What should we do now?", she asked. "The customer wants Extra Hot Cafe Latte and we will serve Extra Hot Cafe Latte. Let's make another one", making this quick decision we four made our ways. They made the Extra Hot Cafe Latte with perfect art and I served it with the perfect arrangement this time.
Touching his cup he asked,"Are you sure this is extra hot?". Now again I made a mistake. I touched the upper part of the cup and said,"Yes". But, the thing is we need to touch the lower part of the cup to maintain the proper hygiene.
These were all negative points, which ruined us. We did have some positive points:
1. we made the quick decision
2. the taste of latte was good and even the latte art gave us some points
3. we had good communication. As at one point I was busy serving hot chocolate, one of the customers asked for water. So, I instantly called up one of my team members and asked him to handle it.
4. after serving the wrong cup of coffee, we made sure we apologized and asked if the customer wants to make another order or not.
So, yeah, in short, my first customer service was doomed to hell and at the same point, we realized our mistakes. We team members were literally freaking out after seeing our performance. Next time, we will make sure we wash our all kinds of emotions in the sink or make sure to throw it away in the dustbin rather than serving it in each cup of coffee mixed with espresso.
For more info regarding barista training and latte art, Contact The BCS.
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