Hot Mug of Tea

Knock Your Customer's Socks Off By Knowing Your Product Well

If you sell a product, it doesn't take much work to master the context surrounding it. If you do it, especially when hardly anyone else does, you'll delight and win loyal customers. Let me share an example of how poorly tea drinkers in America are neglected.

Tea Drinkers Are Sadly Neglected

Most people in America drink coffee as their hot drink of choice. Unfortunately, this leaves me and other tea drinkers at a disadvantage since most restaurants that serve tea have no clue how to do it well.

As a lifelong tea drinker, I didn’t know about tea bag steeping time (how long you keep the tea bag in the hot water). Historically, I'd leave my tea bag in the water until I finished the drink. Doing this makes the tea bitter and less tasty. Eventually, I learned most black teas should only be steeped in the water for a few minutes and then removed and thrown away. 

It’s what I now do, but almost every restaurant fails to bring me a dish to place the tea bag. I usually have to ask for a dish, use one intended for a different application, or place the wet tea bag on a stack of napkins. If a restaurant brings me a tea bag holding dish, they become my hero. 

Another example of tea drinker neglect is when I order something to go. For most tea serving coffee shops, they’ll make the tea and seal the tea bag in the cup while also tucking the tag inside the double cups (I’m looking at you Starbucks). Knowing it should only seep for a few minutes they should either do the steeping for me or they should leave the lid off (and tags untucked) so I can easily dispose of it. If I’m going through the drive-through, it should always be the first option. 

As a tea drinker, there are a few other terrible scenarios we face. Let’s start by talking about those coffee mugs. When I go to some restaurants, their mugs are used so commonly for coffee they make any future drink taste like it. If I’m served tea in one of these “scented” mugs, it will taste like coffee, ruining the taste of lighter teas (white & green). Black teas usually mask it, but it still adds a subtle coffee hint. Very few restaurants will use separate mugs for the different beverages making my experience drinking tea a negative one. 

Shall I continue? If you’re a coffee drinker, you can expect to receive free refills at many restaurants. Unfortunately, it’s rare to receive this for tea drinkers. We’re expected to pay for each beverage because a new tea bag is required as the tea is not made in bulk like restaurant coffee. I suspect the cost is negligible between the two, but the practice goes on.

Make Your Customer Feel Important 

Knowing these fairly simple obstacles, it would be super easy (and inexpensive) for a company to knock my socks off with an understanding of tea drinking. 

When they bring my tea, simply provide a dish with multiple tea bags, a small plate for my bag, and a mug not used for coffee. If I’m getting it to go, seep it for me at the ideal length and toss the tea bags for me. If you have me steep it, quickly communicate the ideal steep time. If a restaurant took these little steps, I’d be a loyal customer for life. 

Recently I got tea at a local coffee shop in the Atlanta area and it was my first experience where they actually knew how to prepare and serve tea. They’re now on my radar as the place to meet when in that area. 

If you sell a product you don’t fully understand, start talking to your customer so you can learn how to better serve them. You could transform their lives with several easy and inexpensive improvements. If you care enough to do it, it shows the customer how much you care about them. And if you’re the only one showing that care, you’ll win a lifelong raving fan for your business. 


Hero Photo by Alexandru STAVRICĂ on Unsplash

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Jason Scott Montoya, Atlanta Georgia - Copyright © 2013-2018 
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