Excelling at Customer Service: A Review

This is a review of our seven-episode, inaugural mini-series. Each summary offers a link back to the original post which provides more coverage on that topic. We are also always eager to discuss further implications of these ideas and observations with brewery operators. The recipients of the Customer Service Award for each post demonstrate a successful example of practicing strong customer service in the specific area discussed each week. But don’t take our word for it, get out on the road, visit these breweries, and see for yourself how awesome it is to be a customer at these fine establishments.

Episode I ~ Beer Enthusiasts Come in All Sizes: Every customer is looking for a specific beer and might also be interested in drinking a certain size of that beer. After considering issues of cost control, exploring whether portion size matters, and observing what different breweries offer, we’ve discovered that the most enjoyable tasting experiences occur when breweries list all quantities and prices of their beer next to each style, while also serving beer as tasters, 1/2 pints or full pints, providing customers with plenty of options.

Customer Service Award: Colorado Boy of Ridgway

Episode II ~ Information Saturation: More and more, customers want to be educated and informed about the beer they’re drinking. So, offer customers lots of information about your beer. What can breweries do to answer the need for information saturation?  1) Provide a detailed tasting sheet/notes for their regular beers with a secondary temporary sheet for seasonal, specialty or pilot beers, and 2) spend a bit of time training staff about the house beer and encourage staff to continually expand their knowledge about what’s on tap.

Customer Service Award: Equinox Brewing of Fort Collins

Episode III ~ An Informative Brewery Website: In the age of smart phones, I-pads, and even those archaic things called laptops, accessing up-to-date information on the web remains extremely important. This might seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how many brewery websites lack easy accessibility to key details about the brewery. Every homepage should include answers to the following five questions, or at least have simple and visible links that lead to the answers with one click: 1) Where is your brewery located? 2) When are you open? 3) What’s on tap? 4) Who are you, (what’s the history of the brewery)? 5) Where else can we find you, (on Social Media)? Simple as that.

Customer Service Award: Revolution Brewing of Paonia

Episode IV ~ Take Risks?: We began this post with a question, “should breweries seek to brew at least a few specialty, obscure beers, something outside of the typical, usual styles customers see at most every brewery?” This is not an easy decision to make.  Though many customers are seeking beers outside of the normal Pilsner, Wheat, Amber, IPA, and Stout circuit, super-complex, heavy brews are not massive crowd-pleasers.  With limited capacity, and a need to draw-in a large customer base, breweries must take some caution with what they brew. On the other side of the argument, breweries going rogue and brewing different styles also receive tremendous recognition.  So maybe balance is necessary. What do you think?

Customer Service Award: Renegade Brewing of Denver

Episode V ~ Be A Part of the Beer Community: While the craft beer industry shares less than 10% of the global beer market, breweries in Colorado must work together to increase the entire industry’s success.  This is called “coopetition” . . . breweries still compete to push the envelope, but they also cooperate for the craft beer industry to thrive.  This post examines three things to do to be a part of the beer community: 1) know the other craft beer establishments in the area, 2) remain positive about the things said in regards to other breweries, and 3) collaborate on a beer with other breweries.

Customer Service Award: The Beer Scenes of Fort Collins and the San Juans

Episode VI ~ Treat Me Like A Local: You have to earn your prestige of being a local, by actually being a local, right? Maybe not. Breweries are at the center of restoring community to our world, and thus have an added responsibility to build and promote community whenever they can.  And that should begin with their customers: locals and travelers alike. A genuine smile, a genuine interest in all their customers, and a willingness to answer questions about the beer knowledgeably and without disdain, will go a long way.

Customer Service Award: Colorado Springs’ Bristol Brewing

Episode VII ~ It’s The Little Things: While other posts in this series focused on one specific customer service topic, it seemed pertinent to mention three quick ideas to conclude this mini-series: 1) don’t let your customers get lost (provide accurate directions on the website and signs near the brewery, when applicable), 2) keep your customers around (create a welcoming atmosphere and offer games to play like bean bag toss, shoots and ladders etc.), and, 3)  always question what other little things can be done, (brainstorm as a staff). When these “little things” go well, a satisfied customer will certainly return for another pint and recommend the brewery to a friend.

Customer Service Award: Vine Street Pub and Brewery in Denver

In conclusion, the Colorado craft beer scene excels at customer service.  These topics highlight what breweries are doing extremely well. And these posts might also encourage or inspire breweries to look humbly and critically at their own operation, always asking, “how can we improve?” It’s this constant striving toward excellence that has made Colorado a world renowned location for delicious beer.  We’re glad we live here!

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Explanation of Customer Service Posts: At Colorado Brewery Days we strive to remain positive in our writing about beer and breweries.  Our goal is not to offer criticisms on beer, but to advocate for the craft beer scene, particularly in Colorado.  After visiting just about every brewery operation in the state, (and several more all over the country and world), we felt that we might be able to provide some ideas for breweries to increase their success as a small business. We will never point out a brewery that doesn’t do things quite as well as they might, but we always provide an example of a brewery achieving a high level of customer service in a particular area (presented in our weekly award). Please let us know if you have questions or if we can help brainstorm additional ideas or advice.

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