Yesterday a Pret team member gave my piping hot toasted sandwich to another customer by mistake. They had to make a new one. It came 60 seconds later with a free cup of coffee and a genuinely apologetic smile.
What is the secret of Pret’s famously happy and buzzy customer service? It has been much analysed, written about, and sometimes questioned… is it truly authentic, or is it ‘a particularly twenty-first century form of emotional moulding’?
Here are some of the key elements.
The right people: recruiting staff for passion (not sandwich-making skills) and onboarding them fully at the Pret Academy.
Empowerment: staff can give away free drinks to returning or deserving customers (I have frequently benefited from this).
The famous ‘mystery shopper’. Once a week, every shop worldwide is visited by a mystery shopper, who scores the team on 10 areas. If the shop gets over 90%, staff receive an extra £1 an hour for the week. According to the Pret website, this happens approximately 85% of the time. “It’s a bonus we absolutely want to pay,” Group People Director Andrea Wareham tells HR Magazine. “Team members know what’s going to earn them that extra money so they focus on those things. It’s natural, not forced, service.”
Additional bonus for ‘going beyond the call of duty’. For outstanding customer service – helping a parent through the door with a pram for instance – team members are rewarded with Outstanding Cards, worth £50.
Read more: Pret website