Coffee: a Complex Supply Chain

For the past two weeks, we’ve been gathering the pieces of the coffee supply chain puzzle, and now it’s all come together. The supply chain for coffee is complex, and customer service plays a major role. From the beginning, when coffee is grown and harvested, coffee plantations work hard to ensure quality for their customers. Only arábica coffee is grown in Costa Rica for its superior taste, despite its susceptibility to disease and smaller production. The high altitudes where coffee is grown give the coffee a higher acidity and therefore a better flavor, but also costs more money. These choices to prioritize quality over production rate and profit margins show the importance of providing only the best for customers.

Coffee exportation is a long and complicated process, but it begins before coffee is even grown. Because plantations like Doka sell their coffee before it’s harvested, it’s important for them to be transparent with their buyers throughout the season, especially in the case of a poor yield. It’s also important for these plantations to do their best to uphold their end of the deal, and have the best coffee possible ready to export in a timely manner. Websites like INFRA are useful for making exportation information easy and accessible by providing shipping dates and details, product information, and other things that are important for buyers to know.

In retail, it’s obviously important for employees to treat their customers respectfully and provide a good experience for them. Café Britt does a very good job of providing an excellent customer experience by offering free samples of all coffee and chocolate products in their stores. This ensures customers are purchasing products they will enjoy. This also acts as the largest form of advertising for Café Britt, as the samples hook customers on a product and promote sales.

Feedback is one of the most important parts of effectively serving customers. Café Britt understands this, and uses surveys and in-store “happy or not” buttons to ensure customers are getting the experience and quality products that they want. The in-store buttons require a satisfaction rate of 85% before regional management is called into the store for inspection and improvement. Café Britt is proud to boast and average satisfaction rate of 90%. Providing feedback is the only way for a company to know what it’s doing well or what issues need to be resolved. This helps the company become more competitive and serve other customers better in the future.

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