Doherty believed one of the reasons its machines appeal to company bosses is because they remove the temptation for staff to “nip over the road” for a coffee in a Starbucks or Costa store.
“We certainly can play a part in keeping staff in the office and improving productivity,” he said. “Even renting one coffee machine from us will pay for itself over time by the number of work hours you gain.”
Doherty mentioned he liked quirky – the company lists other coffee induced work benefits on its website.
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It’s fun but it also shows a willingness to fully understand their customers habits and needs. “Everything we do we put the customer first. I think those companies who failed to do so fell by the wayside during the recession,” Doherty said. “At least once a year we strive to do something for our customers which far exceeds their expectations.”
One example was a call from Abbey Road Studios late one afternoon to say that they had a small issue with one of their machines and it had to be fixed for the musician booked to do a recording later that same evening.
“I remember asking who the musician was,” Doherty said. “Jamie Cullum, came the response! Luckily our service team responds to problems the same day!”
The group employs a ‘customer success champion’ dealing with new business enquiries and helping customers choose the right products for their office.
“It can be quite complicated and often offices get it wrong. We find out how many coffee drinkers there are in the company and how many drinks a day they will have,” Doherty explained. “Sometimes companies can order machines which are too big and costly for their needs.”
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Doherty said its rental model also helps firms save cash: “90 per cent of our machines are rented. It gives our customers flexibility over the 36 month rental period.”
The Office Coffee Company doesn’t see any dampening in demand for coffee among British businesses, noting rising demand from SMEs, and is steadily expanding online selling coffee, tea and biscuits with next day delivery options.
International expansion seems to be a possibility but present focus remains on developing the UK market. “We are happy where we are finding the right partners and getting the service right,” said Doherty.
The company is also keeping a look out for new so-called speciality coffees such as those emerging from Ethiopia. “They are lighter, more like an herbal tea and are proving very popular in central London. We identify the coffees, try to understand them and then assess what is the right product for the right market,” Doherty explained.
So after four years he’s still a keen fan of coffee?
“Of course. I drink about six cups a morning,” he laughed. “Oh, and a more relaxing Redbush in the afternoon.”
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