I started enjoying coffee a few years ago so I hope the fact that I didn’t know about Douwe Egberts until recently will be kindly overlooked. A nice flavour during a Dutch breakfast convinced me to try this coffee again some time, and the opportunity came a few weeks ago while being in Hague with my wife. She noticed Douwe Egberts’ shop on Noordeinde street so we decided to have a latte and a sandwich.
I’ve placed the order, took the plate with the two full glasses of latte and headed to our table. Everything would have been a normal visit and no story would have been told unless an unfortunate accident happened: my backpack dropped from my left shoulder on my forearm while bending to place the plate on the table. You cannot imagine the mess I’ve made: there was coffee spelled all over the table, chairs, floor… the full content of the two glasses was literally all over the place.
One of the girls from the bar came in a hurry and, before I would have my chance to apologize and even before looking at their messed assets, she made sure I’m all right and directed me to a toilet to wash my hands and jacket. When I returned, she was already cleaning the mess so I went to the bar to order some new ones. She noticed me, smiled and told me she would bring the coffees to the table. Obviously, I told myself, it’s fair not to take a second chance with my two left hands but than I had my first surprise: she wouldn’t let me pay for them but insisted to accept the new coffees on the house. You can see part of my second surprise in the picture nearby: they made it for us with unworthy consideration – a “cappuccino art” heart on each of the lattes and two nice dark chocolates aside.
That was the moment I turned from an occasional customer to a “brand lover”. No matter how much you try to promote a brand, in the end your client facing staff will be making the difference in your brand promise.
Looking back at my brand management story:
- the quality of the product made me become an occasional customer;
- the service made me “love” the brand;
- accessibility is a key point in being a loyal customer (the brand is not so well represented when compared to competitors such as Starbucks, for instance).