Not long ago I was at a local Starbucks. I stop in there from time to time because it's conveniently within walking distance of my office. Now, I've noticed, at this particular store location often the employees seem back on their heels as if they're short staffed or just a bit unorganized. As a result their customer service is a bit less than adequate compared to any one of the several other locations I've been at around town. Regardless, there are good people that work there, so I don't let it bother me.
However, the other day I observed something great at this Starbucks location. A smart, quick-thinking young man working the drive-thru came through with some great customer service.
I walked in and took my place in line to order - there happened to be two other people ahead of me in line. It appeared that Starbucks had run out of fresh coffee and the employees were scurrying to make some more, and coffee just happened to be what the customer at the front of the line had ordered. The customer was told it would take a few minutes then the barista, who took the customer's order, proceeded to tend to the fresh pot of coffee she had begun brewing.
The few minutes the coffee was taking to brew seemed to take longer than usual. Sensing the customer's frustration, the young man who was working to fulfill drive-thru orders had a brief lull in traffic and popped over to the register as his fellow barista was still tending to the brewing coffee. With the espresso machine freely available. The young man asked the customer if he might be interested in trying an Americano drink. The young man behind the register explained that the drink is similar tasting to coffee, but it's made with espresso and hot water. Plus, he told the customer that he could have it ready before the coffee he had ordered was finished brewing. Furthermore, the employee charged the customer for the Americano at the same price as the coffee he had originally ordered - normally an Americano would be more expensive than a coffee.
As an observer, I thought the young man made a great savvy customer service move as he saw the customer growing impatient with the wait for his coffee, and took action to stabilize the situation.
It's that kind of quick-thinking customer service that can make the difference in a customer's mind about whether they perceive your brand favorably or unfavorably. That situation could have been handled in several worse ways which would have provoked the customer to be upset, but instead the customer left with a smile on his face and perhaps found a new drink of choice.
How does your brand communicate great customer service? Recommended Reading: Drive, by Daniel H. Pink
Posted by: Nick Venturella