Stumptown Coffee Roasters — Best Coffee in New York

For those of you who don’t know me… or what I do for a living, I *essentially* analyze engineering practices and help businesses improve in areas like customer design, customer interactions, and help them get closer to customer feedback and more usable software.

This is why my interactions over Twitter with United drive me nuts. If given the chance, I would ask United… what is your social media/customer service strategy? In my mind, they don’t have one and if they do, the focus isn’t on the customer.

But, that’s not the point of this post. The point is to call out my experience at Stumptown as, quite possibly, one of the best customer service experiences I have ever had. It was simple… but spoke volumes.

Stumptown was on my list of coffee places to check out… Portland, LA, Seattle, New York… it doesn’t matter which city. In this case, it happened to be New York… on 26th Street W, two blocks from the Carleton Hotel and the company I work for’s office.

I walked in. It was relatively slow but quickly became busy. And, I saw the Cash Only sign. Eyeing my very meagre supply of cash (carrying cash makes no sense for me because of the amount of border-crossing I do and the cost of changing money) I was doubtful that I could get a soy latte with only $5 and a few useless Canadian coins.

But I still asked the guy at the till if it was possible to get a large soy latte for less than $5 with tax etc.

*I think* it was the guy’s first day. He wasn’t sure of what to say until the Barista gave him a nudge and said, “don’t charge her for the soy.” But then the cash register guy misunderstood my ask and put out a small cup. Sensing something was amiss that I shouldn’t poke at, I didn’t say anything. I was charged for a small latte.

5-minutes later, my latte came and it was a large… complete with a heart on top (hearts are difficult to make with soy milk); I was shocked because the barista caught the interaction and adapted. He cared enough about customer service to do something about it… and he cared enough about coffee to make one of the best lattes I have ever had.

A $5 purchase of coffee is just as important as a $500 purchase of furniture because you may only purchase furniture once a year but a $5 coffee eventually equals $500 or becomes greater over time… so in the case of coffee customer loyalty and good customer service is extremely important.

This is now my new favourite coffee shop in the world and the cash I had remaining ended up in the tip jar.

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