Effective Customer Service Program
Another Starbucks Customer Service Case Study - Accomplishing Two Goals At Once During Training

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As a former franchisor and business person, I am always intrigued by customer service, good management, and employees that care where ever I shop or choose to do business. I've often been intrigued by why some businesses succeed, and others fail, and I know from my own personal experience that customer service has a heck of a lot to do with it. Having the proper policies, and having employees who are able to take hold of a mission statement, and use their own common sense to carry it out is much better than having endless rules and regulations of the operations. Okay so let's talk.

The other day I was at Starbucks, and I know we hear a lot about customer service and America's favorite coffee shop. Oh sure, there are wonderful and great locally owned coffee shops in every city in America, but the overall service you get from this corporate giant is staggering considering its size and number of stores. The other day, I ordered my beverage at one of our local Starbucks, and I noticed on the counter was a perfect Caramel Mocha Frappachino with drizzle upon the whip-cream. It was so perfect, that I made a comment, "Wow that sure looks good, you should take a digital picture of it, and it should be up on the Starbucks website."

Then, a young girl turned around and smiled, one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen. I thought that was kind of funny, but it turns out it was her second day on the job, and she was in training. She had made that Carmel Frappachino as part of her training exercise, and was duly working on another drink, some specialty item for practice. The manager who was doing the training was also excited because the new trainee was very happy, and because he was the one who showed her how to do it. He asked me if I would like it, that he'd give it to me for free.

Indeed, I declined because I'd already ordered my own personalized and specialized Frappachino of another type, but he then asked; "would you like to give it to someone else?" I told him that when I walked in there was a girl sitting on the wall playing with her iPad, and it was really hot out, I bet she would love it. He said; "would you like to go take it to her," and I thought; sure. I went out to give it to the gal, and she declined after she looked at her mother. I then walked over to her mother and explained that they were training a new employee, and she made this perfect Carmel Frappachino, but they had no one to give it to.

With that the mother graciously accepted, thanked me very much, and gave me a big smile. She peeked in the window to wave at all the employees, and they all waved back at her. She only came in with her kids to get "free-water" and to sit outside on the patio. They made her day, and isn't that the Starbucks way? Customer service means many things to many different people, and sometimes it is these random acts of kindness that come to you out of the blue that make you stop and think; "wow, what a great company."

Indeed, I hope you will please consider this, and the impact it made on all the people there that day, including some of the people sitting in the lobby who overheard this entire exchange. It made everyone smile, it made people feel like they belonged, and it is this type of act of customer service program which has made Starbucks great, because it goes well above and beyond anything in operations manual. Please consider all this and think on it.

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