Why Starbucks Makes Me Smile

I know, I know, Starbucks has not looked like the untouchable juggernaut it once did; with the l-o-n-g recession mindset hanging over us, paying $4+ for a cup of coffee doesn’t seem as cool as it once did. But Starbucks has survived, despite closing 600 stores during this economic downturn.

And anyone who looks beyond the hype knows why, and it ain’t the coffee.customer service
It’s the experience.

When you walk into nearly every Starbucks you know you will be greeted by a cheerful staff and find free wi-fi, two things I found priceless during my years as a frequent business traveler. I have logged more hours in my ‘other office’ at Starbucks than I can count, and despite sitting in the same seat for hours on end I have never been made to feel unwelcome. As a matter of fact, most frequent Starbucks visitors will tell you that the barristas are now their friends.

This didn’t happen by accident. There’s an entire book written on The Starbucks Experimence if you want to delve deeper, but suffice it to say that it is part of company policy that customers are to be treated with kindness, always.

This may sound simple, but we all know how rare it actually is. There’s a local convenience store near me that I swear to GOD has the exact opposite policy. But they’re the only game in town so they get away with it, for now. Once another convenience store moves in hoards of customers will flock to the new place with glee as punishment for years of being taken for granted, or worse.

So what experience do your customers have? If they don’t smile at the thought of interacting with your company you’ve got some work to do. And it ALWAYS starts at the top.

  • The opposite problem?! That made me laugh! I love Starbucks for the same reasons you list. But I mostly love them because I feel like I’m seeing my friends every morning. I don’t even have to stand in line anymore. THAT is customer service.

  • Amy

    Thanks for stopping by Gini. It appears that it’s become cool to hate Starbucks, just like it’s become cool to rag on Social Media as a Marketing tool…. but they’re great because they GET that it’s an experience.

    We have a very hip little cafe in downtown Scranton (YES, I said SCRANTON as in The Office); great product, but it seems that everyone who works there thinks part of being ‘cool’ is being aloof and never making eye contact.I never go there anymore and will not feel badly when they go out of business.