C is for… Coffee, Cats, Caffe Nero and Customer Service

Posted on 7th April 2010 in caffe nero/ cats/ coffee/ customer service/ review

CoffeeI’ve realised recently that some of my most favourite things being with the letter C.

For example: cats; chocolate; cuddles; cakes; coffee and customer service. Not exclusively those but they spring to mind as favourites, as it goes I quite like crocuses, clouds, crusts and charisma too!

Two of my favourite things have led to my first blog (insert first blog sytle fan fare here…..) and they are coffee and customer service, two things that I happen to be quite passionate about.

I remember feeling quite exotic (yes, exotic) when a branch of Starbucks arrived in town! Had a few coffees in there, once you got over the odd aroma that I’m sure they pump into every Starbucks, it felt decadent, luxurious and almost naughty to go somewhere just for coffee.

But then, one day on the way to Starbucks I noticed a Caffe Nero sign! When had this snuck into town? Why hadn’t I known before? I had visited Caffe Nero in Lakeside (buy peanut & choc chip cookie from Millies, take to Nero’s and sneakily eat while drinking coffee = heaven) and had marveled at the depth and strength of their coffee – buy the wrong thing and the coffee was strong enough to make you nauseous….

And so began my love affair with Caffe Nero and the grande latte *sigh*. The staff were smiley, the air didn’t smell of strangely burnt plastic, the chairs were large and comfy, it was relaxing – it felt like home!

I began going there once a week, sometimes with BF, sometimes with DH and after a couple of weeks the lovely lady started remembering what I drank and would say those most flattering of words ‘your usual?’. I began looking forward to my chat with this smiley lady almost as much as my massive coffee and soon my coffee drinking became more like visiting friends. Even the grumpy (in a nice way) manager soon managed to remember my drink and once I’m sure I saw him smile.

I looked for a facebook page to join in support of my Caffe Nero, there wasn’t one so I set one up. Soon after the lovely lady added me as a friend – now she added ‘I love your wedding pics’ to ‘your usual?’ – ah personal service I love thee so!

There was a dark day, when out for lunch with friends and one of them insisted on Starbucks…. Suddenly I was back in the burnt plastic aroma, no smiles at the counter, tasteless coffee that you had to wait for ‘at the end’ – the drinks appearing in no discernible order making you feel both impatient and unimportant.

The sheer level of customer service that I (and indeed all their regular customers) receive at Caffe Nero was summed up for me recently when I visited the day after my birthday. My lovely lady has long since been promoted – she deserved it and the grumpy (in a nice way) manager was serving ‘did you have a nice birthday?’ he asked, followed by ‘did you do anything nice?’ and ‘these are on me today’. After at least 4 years in this town would anyone at Starbucks even know what I drink? “I think not baby puppy.” ( #Cats & Dogs – 2001 great film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0239395/ )

These two staff members, lovely lady and grumpy (in a nice way) manager could start a customer service revolution. You guys are great and I thank you for making me feel special just because I ordered a coffee – ok and the occasional almond croissant..

I read recently that in Japan there is now a coffee shop where you can rent a cat for half an hour to pet while you have your coffee – hmmmm I haven’t been to Japan, yet!


The UK MD of Starbucks has kindly offered for me to meet up with my local Starbucks District Manager to discuss company ethos – I have agreed and supplied my email address. Will let you know a) if a meeting happens and b) the outcome

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  • Reply Helen 7th April 2010 at 8:32 am

    Yay! I’m the first to comment! Happy new blog! Will def be trying Caffe Nero over SB from now on! Hx

    • Reply mrsljhall 7th April 2010 at 8:38 am

      Thank you first person to comment :o) Coffee in Cafe Nero is stronger than in SB and I do have a few friends who don’t like it so be careful what you order! Thanks again x

  • Reply The Moiderer 7th April 2010 at 8:32 am

    I have the opposite experience. The manageress of Starbucks knows me an my family. They gave me a Special edition Starbucks card that is only for loyal customers. Whenever I travel the Starbucks staff comment on it and it makes me feel good. I hadn’t noticed the smell and Cafe Nero is the only coffee I really don’t like – I find it too bitter – but then I do like coffee flavoured milk and I know real connoisseurs of coffee don’t really like Starbucks

    • Reply mrsljhall 7th April 2010 at 8:36 am

      I think it’s fair to say that my local Nero is probably a special branch with exceptional staff – sounds as though your Starbucks is the same. I just love the feeling of being appreciated as a customer as it is sadly lacking in a lot of places these days. Thank you so much for reading and commenting x

  • Reply Him Up North 7th April 2010 at 8:39 am

    Every coffee shop supplies all the Cs on your list apart from cuddles. Now THERE is a gap in the market…

    Great first post. :-)

    • Reply mrsljhall 7th April 2010 at 8:41 am

      Thank you! Feel like a kid in a….well coffee shop at the mo. Ahhh but I’ve had cuddles in my coffee shop (nice lady not grumpy manager)!

  • Reply Lorna Byrne 7th April 2010 at 8:53 am

    Ah, coffee & chocolate, two of my fave things. Great post :)

  • Reply Vegemitevix 7th April 2010 at 8:59 am

    Hi there, what a lovely bloggy spot!! My absolute favourite is coffee. No coffee no workee!! x

  • Reply uberVU - social comments 7th April 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by MrsLJHall: I think I’ve done my first blog http://wp.me/pSAx7-5 fingers crossed that is a link to a blog (hopefully mine) and not something seedy…….

  • Reply Single Dads Diary 7th April 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Congratulations in the blog :)

    Sadly, I don’t like coffee. Can you recommend a nice tea shop?

    • Reply mrsljhall 7th April 2010 at 5:28 pm

      Why thank you kind sir…. I can indeed recommend many tea rooms and in fact my BF who I drag into Nero’s each week only drinks tea in there anyway! Happy hols

  • Reply Sheila Wells 8th April 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Lisa – I feel very pasionate about good Customer Care. When I lived in the UK (have beeing living in Ireland for the past 3 years) I was in charge of about 50 members of staff and was responsible for as aspects of Customer Care – the good and the not so good. I can not tell you how important good customer care is. Unfortunately I have found the customer care here in Ireland just dreadful – I cannot begin to tell you – and confidentiality is not a thing that is adhered to here either. Living in the countryside probably doesnt help.
    I will look forward to reading your blogs.

  • Reply Hannah 11th April 2010 at 9:05 am

    I love it when you get good customer service. The pret next to my office has equally great staff. Ok so I order the same thing every morning but so do x hundred others and it is lovely to be remembered

    • Reply mrsljhall 11th April 2010 at 9:46 am

      It is just the nicest, special feeling isn’t it! and it costs them nothing x

  • Reply Josie @Sleep is for the Weak 12th April 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I am just thinking and a lot of things I like begin with C too… cake, chocolate, coffee, Captain Kirk, cuddles (with Captain Kirk), crazy Twitter people, crazy people in general, saying crapola…

    It’s like some mysterious secret to the universe!!

    Now, I hate to disappoint, but I am a Costa Coffee convert myself… they have proper high chairs, don’t mind mess, and quite a generous loyalty card!

    • Reply mrsljhall 12th April 2010 at 7:38 pm

      C is where it’s at! I don’t mind where anyone else goes, just prefer Neros myself – and anyway if you guys are all in Costa and Starbucks that means I get Neros all to myself!
      Thanks for the comment x

  • Reply Livi 21st April 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I’m a Costa girl all the way. I can’t stand Starbucks anything, the coffee tastes like water, the frescato’s are thin and icky, yuk! Not tried Nero before, that I remember, so I will have to pop in and give it a try!
    Good to know that they actually made the effort to sort your problems though!

  • Reply S is for… Starbucks « C is for…. 24th April 2010 at 8:40 pm

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  • Reply Squeeeeee! « What Will Julia Do Next? 17th May 2010 at 2:24 pm

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  • Reply Millennium Housewife 21st May 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I have to take Starbuck’s side here! Ok, the toilets always smell of that weird stuff they use as universal airfreshener, but the coffee is much nicer (to me) than nero’s. Sweeter and more mellow. The food available is, for a coffee shop, something I would return for, whoever thought of the cheese and marmite panini should be knighted, and possibly stuffed for my mantlepiece. x

    • Reply mrsljhall 22nd May 2010 at 8:52 am

      Hi, I do agree their food range is better in some ways. But for me the coffee in caffe nero is better – but that is all a matter of personal taste isn’t it. I tried the Via instant samples that Starbucks gave me and they were def the nicest instant coffee I’ve ever had x

  • Reply Heather 20th August 2010 at 3:24 am

    I’ve never heard of Cafe Nero.
    I’m following you from Bloggy Moms. Would so love a follow and a visit as well! :)

    Mommy Only Has Two Hands!

  • Reply Heather 20th August 2010 at 3:25 am

    P.S. if you have a button come add it to my blogroll!

  • Reply Trish 19th December 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Hi there! I’m visiting from the Blog Gems carnival. I’m not a coffee drinker but I probably love chocolate enough to make up for it!

  • Reply Jen 22nd December 2010 at 6:19 am

    Oooh, I haven’t heard of or tried Nero either, but I will watch out. Agree with Livi on the Starbucks thing, I would drink dishwater first! Thanks for joining in Blog Gems. Jen

  • Reply willest 24th March 2011 at 11:40 am

    I love Nero. I love their milkshakes and ham, mushroom and mozarella ciabatta. Wish we had one in our village!

  • Reply liveotherwise 24th March 2011 at 12:19 pm

    We have a Cafe Nero, and I’ve never tried it. Might have to give it a go :)

  • Reply alysonsblog 24th March 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Im a Costa girl infact there was a time when I used to think about setting up a direct debit straight from the bank to them so I wouldnt always need to be fishing for change!

  • Reply HerMelness Speaks 24th March 2011 at 3:18 pm

    One: LOVE Cafe Nero and agree about the service and Two: this read like a seasoned blog. Would not have guessed was inaugural post. Great.

  • Reply The Mummy Bean 24th March 2011 at 4:35 pm

    oh oh, did you go for the meeting? New to your blog and looking forward to reading more :)

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