The Starbucks’ Lesson—Valuing Your Customers

StarbucksToday, I had my faith restored a bit in corporations, and it wasn’t through any big announcement, but rather through an interaction at the local level. In general, I only visit Starbucks when traveling or if the mood strikes, because I’m not a coffee drinker. Instead, I’m awfully fond of the hot chocolate and it makes a nice treat on a cold morning (-3 degrees this morning).

Recently, a stand-alone store opened in my area and I have visited once before, so I would in no way be identified as a regular. However, today when I attempted to pay for my hot chocolate with a twenty, my perky barista informed me that they didn’t have change at the moment, so the drink was on them. (I better understood the long line in the drive thru, too.)

Momentarily stunned (what business willingly gives away the most expensive version of a particular product???), I offered to pay with smaller bills. Nope. Not necessary. Here’s a receipt with the information to do a survey. Now, I have no idea if this event was representative of a corporate Starbucks policy. Even if it was, I’m still impressed by it. And if not, I admire the initiative of the staff to address the issue without causing problems for their customers.

I learned a lesson this morning: if you find yourself in a pickle, and your customers might feel the impact, find a way to turn it around so you and not your customers bear the burden. Case in point, I’m writing about my great experience at Starbucks and the positive mention only cost them $3.07. Are you taking advantage of opportunities to create good impressions for relatively little in the long run?


(Image courtesy of miskin. Some rights reserved.)


5 Responses to “The Starbucks’ Lesson—Valuing Your Customers”

  1. January 2, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I had a good experience with Starbucks recently too. Long story but I wrote about it…

  2. January 2, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Yes, this is a nice thing they do! I have recently started to challenge them to create new drinks for me, and they are always willing to try. And if I don’t like it, they will make it again! This always triggers guilt in me, though, so I drink whatever they make, but I love that they’re willing to give it a go.

  3. January 3, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Starbucks got my wife and I hooked because the first couple of times we went, something ended up being wrong, they gave us free coffee AND gave us certificates for a free beverage. So, the first 4-5 times we went to Starbucks it was free. It’s like a crack dealer giving away the samples free. We’ve been paying $3.70 a grande latte ever since and our favorite Christmas present is a loaded Starbucks gift card!

  4. 4 Britt
    January 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

    @cbgrace: I’m glad I’m not alone.

    @Dave: A drink challenge? You are clearly much more creative than I. Although I do appreciate that you feel a sense of guilt to drink whatever they make.

    @Phillip: Yes, you’re right. However, unlike real crack dealers, I haven’t heard of Starbucks beating up or shooting anyone recently. 🙂

  5. January 3, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Phillip, I wrote the same thing yesterday…they are like drug dealers who get you hooked. (Maybe it is owned by Dr. Evil)

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January 2008
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