Posts Tagged ‘Impressions

02
Jan
08

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?

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(Image courtesy of miskin. Some rights reserved.)

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04
Dec
07

Worlds Collide—George Eliot, Buffy, and Super Glue

Buffy Series CollectionLast week, I fulfilled one of my fondest wishes and ordered the full Buffy the Vampire Slayer series from Amazon (it was a killer sale). I practically tackled the UPS delivery man when he showed up with the box. My first experience? The bottom of the DVD box fell off without me doing anything more than taking it out of the shipping box. My immediate thought? Weak Chinese glue. However, Super Glue saved the day.

Back to my immediate thought on weak Chinese glue, I’m a little surprised how quickly that thought popped into my head. For all I knew, the box was made somewhere in the U.S. or Europe, but when the box feel apart in my hands, my first thought was China. Whether we recognize it or not, we’re trained to respond to things in a certain way . Everything from our first impressions to the opinions of family and friends impacts our response. I have had several things with the “Made in China” stamp not hold up, ergo, when something falls apart easily, my first thought is China.

The same thing can happen in a good way. Take Super Glue—the other half of this conversation. I didn’t panic over the box bottom falling off because I had Super Glue. I knew it would fix the problem because my association with Super Glue tells me that it’s fixed my problems in the past.

We also do the same thing with people. How difficult is it to change your perception of another person, particularly if you had a bad encounter? And there’s a sticky problem with impressions and/or associations—they often back us into corners.

George Eliot, who’s always made me laugh, penned this pointed observation on impressions in Felix Holt, the Radical:

George Eliot’s Works By George Eliot

Impressions play a valuable role in helping us make our way through an increasing amount of noise. However, they are equally capable of stopping us from experiencing something truly remarkable. In short, don’t be Harold without distinct ideas. Look forward to the trouble of having to change your mind at least once in awhile.

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