The Art of Customer Service: Jungle Juice

Serving up happiness and smiles to all customers

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” — Thomas Watson, Sr.

Shortly after moving into our new apartment here in Melbourne, my neighbor and I went to grab some coffee and she introduced me to a new place just around the corner from where we live. Tucked away in the heart of Centre Place (one of the more popular lane ways in the city), we settled in at a table at Jungle Juice. With a few booth-style tables and upside down crates as chairs, you might mistake Jungle Juice for a hole in the wall, but what this gem lacks in space, it makes up for in taste, experience, and friendly customer service.

Their menus are printed inside the covers of old Little Golden Books (remember those?!), such as Cinderella and The Poky Little Puppy — adding to its undeniable charm. They mainly serve bagels, both breakfast and lunch, as well as an array of different coffees (from your standard latte to a café bombón [which I tried and it was delicious!]). I once asked our neighbor, a native Melburnian, what his favorite coffee spot was and he was quick to tell us that he swears by Jungle Juice, and would travel from the other side of town where he used to live to get their coffee. As their name suggests, Jungle Juice also offers a wide assortment of juices, which they make on site, as well as the many yummy treats they sell, like muffins with chocolate Freckles and Crunchie brownies.

My first experience that day was a great one. The owner, Marcus, came up to us during our meal and asked how our bagels were (they were/are top-notch, by the way), if he could get us anything else, and hearing my accent, asked more about how my husband and I were liking Melbourne. He let me know how he had lived in Los Angeles for a while, and moved back to Australia to open up the cafe in 1999, and loving every moment of it. He was very courteous and it left a good impression on me.

It wasn’t long after that I returned with another friend (who had also recently moved from the U.S.), craving their bagels and coffee once again! Again, Marcus was there to greet us, make suggestions, and started asking my friend how she was enjoying Melbourne. Since then, I have been a loyal customer, and my husband and I make it a tradition every few weeks to go down to Centre Place on a Saturday morning and grab some juice or coffee and our favorite bagels. For the most part, we’ve always seen the owner, and if he wasn’t there, I will always chat to the staff members, as they’re incredibly friendly and always provide great service, no matter how busy they are (and 9 times out of 10, they’re always busy). Sure, there are many bagel spots in the city and hundreds of options to grab a great cup of coffee, but something always pulls us back to Jungle Juice — the great service. I like that when I go there, the staff and Marcus will recognize me, ask how things are going, and while I’m waiting for our bagels, will even offer me a seat and some water.

McBagel with latte

Some people will argue that when a business gets too big, it can lose its personal touch with customers — to the point where they might not remember your name or the type of coffee or sandwich you regularly order. Such is not the case in my personal opinion—I feel that no matter how small or large the company is, you can always choose to establish that relationship with your customer. As Gauri Sharma says in her Forbes article, 7 Best Practices for Building Client Relationships:

“Simply put, happy clients are more likely to make referrals. Provide all clients with your best service, regardless of whether [you] are a Fortune 500 company or a small business. You never know who your clients may know or to whom they will refer you.”

I changed a word in the quote from “they” to “you”, as in this case, I’m focusing solely on how you can build a personal relationship with individual customers (although it does work in the same way in the business world when you’re partnering with companies, nonprofits or perhaps doing affiliate work).

Let’s go back to her point of “happy clients are more likely to make referrals”. In a city over-saturated with highly regarded and delicious coffee shops, Jungle Juice stands out by providing a great product and simply letting each customer know they matter; asking how their day is going, how’s the family doing, do they have any plans for the holiday weekend — these small gestures make a tremendous impact. Although I do frequent other cafes in the city, I can always rely on Jungle Juice to give me quality service, delicious coffee and food, and a smile to go along with it! I’ve spoken to numerous people about their bagels and coffee and, of course, the awesome staff and service — which has certainly converted into frequent visits at Jungle Juice too!

In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie speaks about how humans are always seeking to be appreciated — it satisfies our basic needs, beyond hunger and sleep. He quotes William James, who said that “…the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” I know that each time I walk into Jungle Juice, I’ll receive a smile, a genuine “How you going?”, a “Still enjoying Melbourne?”, and I can wholeheartedly say: it makes all the difference. Despite how quickly your company may grow (or perhaps it’s already very large), try to reach out to clients and let them know they matter. A handwritten note thanking them for their support, responding to each tweet that comes in when customers talk about their love for your product/service, or even taking that extra few minutes when they come in the store or by the office to ask them how their child is doing in school. The customer is still a human being, just like you and I, wanting to be noticed and praised — let’s make a concerted effort to not only engage our customers but let them know they matter through positive and genuine words and actions!


Want to learn more about establishing strong and meaningful relationships with your customers? Check out some of these great articles I’ve found: