Gini Dietrich

A Fantastic Starbucks Customer Experience Story

By: Gini Dietrich | October 30, 2012 | 
220

I have a great story to tell you.

It’s one of fantastic customer service from a brand we all know and love: Starbucks.

Most of you know I had a craaaaazy summer. I was on the road for 25 weeks straight. To say I was exhausted is putting it mildly.

When I’m home, Mr. D comes into my office and announces, “I’m going to go hunt for coffee,” as if we’re living in the wilderness and he’s hunting for the family’s daily meal.

I always get a tall, nonfat latte. But one particular morning in June, after a few weeks of crazy travel, I asked him to upsize me to a grande.

When he returned, there was a note on my cup:

The fact that the barista at Starbucks knew I was in for a long day because I ordered a larger drink was pretty incredible. I took a picture of it and uploaded to Facebook, but thought that was the end of that.

About a month later, Mr. D came home with another personalized cup:

He explained they didn’t think I was real – that he was making me up – because they’d never seen me.

So, of course, I checked “maybe,” wrote “depends on your definition of real,” and sent the cup back the next day.

In order to determine whether or not our definition of real was the same, he sent me another cup:

And so began our four month relationship, communicating only through cups that Mr. D delivered back and forth a couple of times a week.

It became a great source of entertainment on Facebook, while my friends all voted on how I should answer each question.

Then, after three U.S. trips and one trip to Canada, I made my return – via the cups and Mr. D – to Starbucks.

He continued to keep me on my toes, even as I answered his questions and sent back some of my own, with a new “feature” of our cup relationship.


And then sadness. About a month ago, I learned his last day at Starbucks was coming soon.

I had Mr. D find out when his last day was (this past Sunday) and I went in to meet him.

And now, without any further ado, I’d like to introduce Dan the Starbucks barista who totally rocks, gave me a ton of great fodder for Facebook updates for months, and made me feel like he truly cared about both Mr. D and me as regular customers.

He moved to Chicago to go to The French Pastry School and now has a full-time job as a pastry chef at Sixteen at the Trump Hotel. And you can bet on your life that we will be visiting him there, which never would have happened without the personalized cups.

He took regular Starbucks customers and had such an effect on us, we’ll become dessert patrons at a fancy schmancy restaurant.

The Experts Say

We’ve been talking a lot here about treating customers like people, no matter what your job, and while it’s interesting conversation, I’m not a customer experience expert.

So I asked Jeannie Walters and Adam Toporek to give us their take on why these little things matter so much in today’s 24/7, real-time, digital world.

Jeannie said:

This is a perfect example of how a small thing, a microinteraction, can have a much bigger affect. Customers are people. As people, we each like to be treated as an individual. This small act of interaction recognized you as a unique person, plus it created a relationship when there was no requirement to go beyond the transaction. By interacting in this incredibly human, not to mention charming, way, he gave you a reason to be loyal beyond the coffee. It’s a wonderful reward for loyalty, too. We all want to be recognized.

And, as a side note, this is the topic of Jeannie’s TedX talk on November 9, if you want to learn more.

And Adam said:

We live in a low touch economy. We bounce from transaction to transaction sometimes without any human contact at all. Most of the personalization we do experience falls under the rubric of mass customization — it’s faux-personalization such as reading the name off a credit card or off a Starbucks cup. These gestures are important because they help us feel recognized, but they are not enough to make us feel truly valued.

The reality is everyone wants to feel appreciated. What is so cool about your barista is that he went beyond his job to make you feel special, to take extra time to show that he valued you enough as a customer and person to notice and to care.

So there you have it. A very personal, fantastic story of customer experience and a series of microinteractions that worked phenomenally well.

What experiences have you had or seen that lend to really great customer experience?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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220 Comments on "A Fantastic Starbucks Customer Experience Story"

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richardbosworth
3 years 6 months ago

Barista Dan is a sure challenger for James Hoffmann’s World Champion Barista Crown.  
 
Dan exemplifies everything James http://bit.ly/mOJH  shared with us at last weeks Be World Class conference in Leeds http://bit.ly/PCl9LL 
 
Wonderful story Gini and another great example of finding ordinary people delivering world class performance right on our doorstep.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@richardbosworth I think I should submit him for an award at the Be World Class conference!

AmeenaFalchetto1
AmeenaFalchetto1
3 years 6 months ago

Oh wow this is SUCH an awesome story! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@AmeenaFalchetto1 Isn’t it?? It got better every time I got a new cup. He’s pretty freaking amazing!

PittBecca
PittBecca
3 years 6 months ago

This is an awesome story and I love the overall message!  If all baristas were like this I think there would be a lot more “good” long days.  
I think the best thing I’ve encountered just has to do with all you said… have that personal touch.  Any situation where I feel like the person I am purchasing something from takes interest, or even takes the time to ask “So how is your day going?” makes me happy!  
I need to be more like this too!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@PittBecca I think we all need to be more like this. It’s not so hard to have fun with the people who buy from us, but sometimes we get busy and we forget.

belllindsay
belllindsay
3 years 6 months ago

I’ve been following your Starbucks Cups saga – and this is a fantastic ending to an incredible story. A pastry chef!!?? Crazy! I am so glad you two finally met!! 🙂

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@belllindsay I cannot wait to go have some yummy dessert made by my new friend!

bobledrew
bobledrew
3 years 6 months ago

What’s interesting to me is this question. So Dan the barista has “it” — you can tell from his attitude as demonstrated in his cheeky messages on your cups, even in his smile. And that’s great. Sbux obviously benefited from his work there. And I’ve no doubt his next employer will, and the one after that. But having someone like Dan is partially good luck, and partially good hiring. So how do you distill “it” and put a few drops in ALL of your employees’ coffee?

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago
@bobledrew I think you’re right – some people have it and some do not. It’s hard to instill that in all of your employees. I was in LA a few months ago, going through security at LAX, and the guy at TSA was the nicest person in the entire world. He was talking to people, he was cracking jokes, he was looking people in the eye when he was checking their tickets and ID, and he used people’s first names. It was amazing to see the mood of people shift from “I hate security and this process sucks” to “This isn’t… Read more »
Tinu
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich @bobledrew yes it’s hard to instill. But I’ll tell you, when I worked at Starbucks in 96, they certainly did try. And I’ve had more positive customer experiences in Starbucks than almost any retail store. And I’m an Apple lover. Of course you can’t go by me because I have been indoctrinated by the Starbucks cult from the inside…

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Tinu  I’m with you on Apple. I LOVE going in to their stores. It’s such a great experience.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
3 years 6 months ago

Incredible how the massive explosion of our digital world has made the little, teency, tiny personal customer service interactions all that much more special. It’s like we don’t expect them anymore and when they happen, we are floored that someone took the time to remember we are humans.
 
Great story and should be a case study in the college textbooks.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@John_Trader1 Right? We’re so accustomed to faceless interactions that when something cool like this happens, we are floored. The best part about it, though, is I received these cups without ever stepping foot into Starbucks. I didn’t actually meet him until a few days ago. So it says a lot about how much they enjoyed having Mr. D visit each morning.

RebeccaTodd
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @John_Trader1 Let’s not limit ourselves to textbooks here, people! You write it, I’ll publish it. deal?

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd  @John_Trader1 DEAL!

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @RebeccaTodd I am pre-ordering the book on Amazon as we speak.

RebeccaTodd
3 years 6 months ago

@John_Trader1  @ginidietrich I am still awaiting the first draft of Gini’s fiction piece to edit…

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd  @John_Trader1 Wait til Thursday!

Danny Brown
3 years 6 months ago

Amazing how something so small can make such a big difference. Another reason for smart businesses to let the employees lead the culture (if that lead is a right fit). Here’s to Dan – it’s clearly something to do with the first name…

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Danny Brown Clearly it’s the first name. Why don’t you go back on your roof and fix those pipes?

Danny Brown
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich That’s my job today. Fun. If I blow over your way, please have a coffee ready.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Danny Brown I’ll have Dan make you a coffee!

Tinu
3 years 6 months ago

I have a whole happy tirade about working at Starbucks that I’ll rant about elsewhere. But what a great story. Right now, I’d have to say that I’m having a romance with the Uber car service in DC. It’s not always perfect, but when it is, it’s magical, and I feel like a princess. When it’s not, I know the people in customer service will fix it. Literally every time I am merely satisfied or worse, they respond to my review with a real response from one of the same 2 people.
You’d think I was their only client.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Tinu We love Uber, too! And there is a new service launching here next week that may be even better (if only because I know one of the owners).

yvettepistorio
3 years 6 months ago

I absolutely love this story…I’m a little sad it has come to an end though, but what a great ending! I remember getting a smiley face on my SB cup and that’s the one I took a pic of. Just that made my day. It’s the little things. And I agree with @John_Trader1  this should be a case study in college textbooks. I’m tempted to send it to an old professor of mine who loves talking about Starbucks!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@yvettepistorio  You should! I submitted it to the Starbucks “employee hero” website, too. I hope he gets all sorts of kudos for having fun with his customers.

allenmireles
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich I have enjoyed watching the Starbucks coffee cup story unfold and it’s fun to see your barista’s face finally. I had a marvelous customer service experience with a wonderful Verizon lady, when I had just about given up on finding a rea human being to speak to. She patiently walked me through every aspect of my issue and we then fell into a long conversation about our lives and kids and work. We still email on occasion and I always know where to go if I need to have a Verizon question answered. No small thing in today’s smartphone-dependent world.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@allenmireles What?!? That’s unheard of from a phone company. Wow.

RebeccaTodd
3 years 6 months ago

Thank you for finally sharing Dan with us! What a cutie. I wish him every success in the future, but I know he doesn’t need just wishes- his kind spirit and thoughtfulness will carry him far in life. Also, I voted “Harry” and “Magic Mike” even though I think I got outvoted.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd I think you did get outvoted. There was another one (I can’t remember which) that majority did not win. It’s fun being the dictator of answers on your Starbucks cups!

RebeccaTodd
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich Just as an FYI, Magic Mike is out on DVD. You’re welcome.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd I’ll have to rent it one night Mr. D is playing poker.

Hajra
3 years 6 months ago
I loved those personalized cup updates! I actually showed it to my dad (a total Starbucks fan). And he then thought his cups were boring – he actually went and told the story to the Starbucks near his office!    My favorite customer service story – when in college my friends and I usually went to this local burger joint. It was run by a couple and they had left their day jobs to make this happen. Now my birthday falls during Indian holidays so I was normally home for it. But one particular birthday I had to stay back… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Hajra  OMG! That is insane! What a crazy – and fun – story!

lauraclick
3 years 6 months ago
I love this story! I’m sad I won’t get to see the saga of the cups anymore on Facebook, but so glad you finally got to meet Dan and that he’s pursuing his dream. So cool!   One of my best customer experience stories is from a coffee shop too. When I used to work downtown, I would frequent Dunn Brothers Coffee. And, I would always rave about them on Twitter. The owner and I got to know each other online, but we never met. One day, I tweeted something to the effect of “man, I wish Dunn Bros delivered”… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@lauraclick It makes me sad you no longer work downtown because it sounds like you’re missing out on something really big!

lauraclick
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich What do you think I’m missing out on? Coffee? Goodness no. There are tons more coffee shops in my neighborhood, just not within walking distance. But, that changes in a week or so when one opens ONE BLOCK from my house. HOORAY!
 
I loved working downtown, but my job now is WAAAAAY better. 😉

LouHoffman
LouHoffman
3 years 6 months ago

It comes to the people.
 
That’s at the core of the experience.
 
The founder of the Four Seasons was on Charlie Rose a few weeks ago. It was a fabulous interview as he delved into how the Four Seasons cultivates employees who care.

LouHoffman
LouHoffman
3 years 6 months ago

Great story.
 
It comes down to the people.
 
That’s at the core of the experience.
 
The founder of the Four Seasons was on Charlie Rose a few weeks ago. It was a fabulous interview as he delved into how the Four Seasons cultivates employees who care.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@LouHoffman Oh! I’m going to find it. That sounds like something I’d enjoy seeing.

T60Productions
3 years 6 months ago

That’s a pretty terrific story Gini.  Have you shared it with anyone at Starbucks?  I think you should.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they did something nice for him even having already left.
 
It also has me thinking about fun things I can do with my customers.  Really fun post today… loved it!
 
–Tony Gnau

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@T60Productions I posted it in their employee heroes site so we’ll see if they pay attention.

magriebler
magriebler
3 years 6 months ago
The woman who owns my local dry cleaner doesn’t speak much English and I speak even less Chinese. But her face lights up when I walk in the door and she always RUNS to the counter to greet me. She never has to ask my name; she knows everyone in my family; and her alterations are affordable and exquisite. She makes a mundane errand memorable simply by making ME feel memorable.   Putting people first is an attitude that transcends all kinds of barriers. Dan didn’t need to meet you to forge a relation. My dry cleaner doesn’t need to… Read more »
RebeccaTodd
3 years 6 months ago

@magriebler  @John_Trader1 That’s a great story! The owner of the local Vietnamese restaurant has become a friend as well. We don’t let the language barrier stop us from connecting.  Every time I walk in, he calls out to welcome me loudly, so the whole restaurant hears- “Hello Brenda!”. I told you we weren’t concerned about the language barrier…

Erin F.
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd  @magriebler  @John_Trader1 I love it. During my college days, a couple of my friends and I used to go to a little Chinese restaurant. We became such regular guests that the owners could guess our orders even before we placed them.

jasonkonopinski
3 years 6 months ago

@Erin F.  @RebeccaTodd  @magriebler  @John_Trader1 #thelovelylisa (my wife) has a serious Starbucks habit. As soon as they see her walk in the door, the barista is already pulling her drink together (grande vanilla latte, non-fat, two pumps with whip).  
 
When I go through the drive-through, there’s always a slice of pound cake waiting for the Wonderpup – because he’s usually in the backseat.

magriebler
magriebler
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd   “Brenda” must be “Rebecca” in Vietnamese. Or Canadian.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@RebeccaTodd  Hello Brenda?!? LMAO!! I’m calling you that from now on.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@magriebler  I think that might be a cultural thing because our dry cleaning lady gets the biggest grin on her face when she sees Mr. D coming and she fawns all over me. Hmmmmm….

magriebler
magriebler
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich As opposed to being dazzled by our sparkling personalities? I’ll go with my version, thank you very much.

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

Great story, and glad you wrote about it. I wish more people would praise good employees and customer service. I’m also tempted to call one of those toll-free “How’s my driving” numbers on the back of a truck just to say, “Hey, your driver is following all of the laws and driving very safely”. I bet they never get those calls.

magriebler
magriebler
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller I love that. It reminds me of some sage advice I got about parenting and supervising: catch people doing something right. Chances are they’ll do it again.

TonyBennett
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller Not true, I actually called one of those numbers and reported my experience. I observed a truck driver allowing merging traffic in for a couple miles and he honked his horn when my kids gave him the universal “sign.” The attendant on the call was obviously flabbergasted… She was like “ummm ok, is that all?” yeah lady, it was, now give my man a good review!

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

@TonyBennett  Haha! That’s awesome. My kids used to do that, as did I. but I guess that’s proof they aren’t used to getting those kind of calls. Most of the calls they get are probably laced with profanity.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller OMG! DO IT!!

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich Great. This gives me an idea. Just what I need. more ideas….

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller YAY!!

Erin F.
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller  @ginidietrich You can never have too many ideas. Okay, maybe you can. <hides notebook brimming with sticky notes and scraps of paper>

bradmarley
3 years 6 months ago

Making the customer feel special doesn’t take a lot of work. I wish more companies would do this.

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

@bradmarley That’s the funny thing about it…it’s so easy! It’s like some companies go out of the way NOT to be nice.

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller  @bradmarley omg ever try getting that Inkling Media on the phone? It is like ACD hell.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@bradmarley Right? It’s not that hard. Just treat people like human beings. Why is that so hard?

AmyMccTobin
3 years 6 months ago

I am SO giving a Starbucks cup to my Mermaid-believing neighbor:)  I’ve always loved this story… I’m hoping he can continue making you feel special, and us live vicariously through you, in his new job.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@AmyMccTobin The next time I am down your way, I want to meet this neighbor of yours. I will ask him all sorts of questions and then we’ll have Facebook fodder for at least a month!

AmyMccTobin
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich Let’s start with mermaids, unicorns and aliens, and see where it leads…

GeoffReiner
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich This is the true definition of customer service. And I agree with @KenMueller companies seem to strip people of their personalities to ensure that everything happens the way it’s “supposed to” happen based on an ideal customer experience. However, it’s the human interaction and personalities that keep us coming back! For me this redefines an ideal customer experience and more companies should strive to do this.
Thanks again for sharing Gini!

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

@GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich This reminds me of a post that Gini and I, and quite a few others, contributed to over on adamtoporek ‘s blog about customer service. There were some great descriptions there of what customer service is all about. I go back to this particular post a lot.
 
http://customersthatstick.com/blog/what-is/what-is-customer-service/

Adam | Customer Experience
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller  @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich  Ken, your check is in the mail. 🙂

GeoffReiner
3 years 6 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  lol that’s awesome!

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

@GeoffReiner  @Adam | Customer Experience  @ginidietrich Suh-weet! I can’t remember if it was in that post or another one, but someone mentioned that customer service is not about how many customers you handle in a certain amount of time (like call centers) but is about spending the time necessary with each customer. In a culture concerned with herding customers like cattle, Dan would have been chastised, or even fired, for “wasting” time on his cup art.

Erin F.
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller  @GeoffReiner  @Adam | Customer Experience  @ginidietrich Whereas I would have celebrated it. Little details matter.

GeoffReiner
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller  @Adam | Customer Experience  @ginidietrich  
 
It’s so true! And this gets back to Gini’s Apple story about customer service representatives actually spending time with you to make sure they answer all your questions and deliver a service that is beyond all expectations.
 
http://bit.ly/TTflSi
 
It’s a way to truly become a trusted advisor but many people either don’t see the value or are encouraged not to spend the time..

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@Erin F.  @KenMueller  @GeoffReiner  @Adam | Customer Experience  @ginidietrich if he really cared Gini would of had a side of bacon with every cup on the house.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@GeoffReiner  @KenMueller  @Adam | Customer Experience Geoff, your check is in the mail!

GeoffReiner
3 years 6 months ago

@KenMueller  @ginidietrich  adamtoporek  
 
Ken this is great! So much rich information from business leaders and entrepreneurs. Thanks again for sharing!

Adam | Customer Experience
3 years 6 months ago
This is a great customer experience story Gini! Seeing the cups really brings the depth of the interaction to life. I’m curious, in fact, did Dan prep the cups ahead of time? Hard to imagine him writing them out with a counter 6 deep.   The moral, of course, is that Dan took the time and interest in you that was far above and beyond the normal call of duty, even for a typically friendly Starbucks barista. But it is also true, that he is probably exceptional. To @bobledrew ‘s point below, sometimes you just hire a rockstar. In the… Read more »
HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience  @bobledrew you do know that the manager at that starbucks told the employees anyone who get’s even a minor complaint is being sold to work in the mines of Siberia.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience  I think in the beginning he definitely wrote them out while he was waiting for the milk to warm up, but when we were sending one another questions, it was clear he was taking time to think about them (as I did). But I don’t know if he wrote them right then or ahead of time. I’ll have to ask Mr. D

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
3 years 6 months ago

As someone so eloquently put it at TEDx Detroit last week, “we are in an era of selling customer experiences instead of customer services.”

TonyBennett
3 years 6 months ago

@patrickreyes great point (and quote)

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@TonyBennett  @patrickreyes so I recall you are a Lion’s fan who I can tell have been selling you really amazing experiences this year! @ginidietrich is a convert.

TonyBennett
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG @patrickreyes yes, I too am peddling the Honolulu Blue & Silver goods as well. We basically lost on a technicality last Monday (turnovers) but fear not, we’ll still clinch a wild card birth and beat da bears in da playoffs @ginidietrich

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@TonyBennett  @HowieG  @patrickreyes  What?!? A technicality? Is that what it’s called when you can’t score at all until the last seconds of the game?

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@patrickreyes Was it you that put it so eloquently??

jasonkonopinski
3 years 6 months ago

I so love this story, and a perfect example of how truly wonderful customer service is scalable. They don’t have to be the big stunts that get the headlines (i.e. Morton’s showing up with a steak for Peter Shankman in response to a tweet or the big birthday spread for a young guest at Best Western); just honest human interaction.

Olivia_Farnham
Olivia_Farnham
3 years 6 months ago

@jasonkonopinski so true — big stunts aren’t needed.

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@jasonkonopinski this story is better. I really don’t find the Shankman story impressive. he eats at Mortons all the time. The amount they charge what they did is expected. Anything less would be offensive in my book.

jasonkonopinski
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG Absolutely – and I consider Peter a friend. The Morton’s story needs to be taken in context that the response was largely *because* it was Peter Shankman sending out the tweet.  The real measure is how they respond to normal customer inquiries/complaints, etc.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@jasonkonopinski Mr. D said to him, “I don’t think how famous you are about to become when Gini blogs about this.” He didn’t do it because I have Twitter followers or a blog. He did it because he knew I was having a bad day and it grew from there.

Erin F.
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski I think that means he’s observant, and he has a kind heart. Both excellent qualities.

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@Erin F.  @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski still no side of bacon

jasonkonopinski
3 years 6 months ago

@Erin F.  @ginidietrich I try very hard to surround myself with people who have those qualities in spades. I think I’ve done pretty well in that regard.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG  @Erin F.  @jasonkonopinski I AM A VEGETARIAN!!!

jasonkonopinski
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @HowieG  @Erin F. Well, nobody’s perfect.

Erin F.
3 years 6 months ago

@jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich I try to do the same.

Adam | Customer Experience
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @HowieG  @Erin F.  @jasonkonopinski I got your back on this one Gini. @KenMueller loves Veggie bacon, by the way.

KenMueller
3 years 6 months ago

@Adam | Customer Experience  @ginidietrich  @HowieG  @Erin F.  @jasonkonopinski Veggie Bacon is a misnomer. It shouldn’t exist.

terence.stephens
terence.stephens
3 years 6 months ago

awesome story.  I’m already starting to think of ways to make my customer service more personal.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@terence.stephens Yeah! That’s what I like to hear! 
 
What happened to your avatar?

terence.stephens
terence.stephens
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich I don’t really know what happened to it.  I keep meaning to get some pics outdoors to use in my various profiles — its coming soon!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@terence.stephens OH good!

TonyBennett
3 years 6 months ago

Wow!! Dan is my new hero, figuratively and literally speaking. I suppose I’d have frequent Starbuck’s more often to develop a relationship like yours, but still, I haven’t experienced anything like that. In fact, if I ever had that sort of personal service, I’d likely give him or her my official seal of awesomeness (I really have one). Thanks for sharing this story, Gini.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@TonyBennett The thing I love most about it is I probably only got one drink a week because of my travel schedule. I think Mr. D was in there more often, but he always sent a cup home with him when he knew I was home.

jeanniecw
3 years 6 months ago

I love this and hope Dan becomes famous!! Now, about that dessert date….

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@jeanniecw Oh we’re going. After your birthday.

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald
3 years 6 months ago
Gini I had a similar experience,  yet not as fun. I was living in Seattle and looking for a real, honest mechanic. Finally I asked my Facebook friends and found one. I called them and talked about my concerns, they even talked to my stepfather to resolve my car issues. The best part was when I received a thank you note in the mail, and not just a thank you card but a handwritten note with a personal message saying how they were so glad they could help me, and gave me a coupon for coming in next time.  … Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@jennimacdonald There is almost nothing better than a handwritten thank you note!

AmyMccTobin
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @jennimacdonald Especially one that comes in the mail with a real stamp.  It’s amazing how that works.

ElissaFreeman
ElissaFreeman
3 years 6 months ago

Fabulous story!!  I am so going to the Trump for dessert next time I’m in Chicago!!

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@ElissaFreeman my ex fiance (ex because we got married Sunday) wanted me to wear cuff links. Macy’s had two brands. Trump and Tosso Elba. I told the guy I will not wear Trump!
 
Hey @ginidietrich is it too late to save this poor guy? I am going to call him now.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG  I think he’ll be OK. Trump doesn’t actually show up there and it’s a REALLY nice restaurant.

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich not as nice as Applebee’s but hey nothing compares to that

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@ElissaFreeman I hope I’m going with you!

Josh/ http://joshuawilner.com/
3 years 6 months ago

All hail Barista Boy.
 
This reminds me of Jon Buscall’s most recent podcast and the discussion about how the people in stores we shop at used to know who we are and ask about our lives.
 
The ‘small town’ touch has significant real world implications.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Josh/ http://joshuawilner.com/ Even in gigantic cities!

mastrbruce
mastrbruce
3 years 6 months ago

Sounds like one bored barista.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@mastrbruce Ahhh. Are you jealous?

debdobson62
debdobson62
3 years 6 months ago

Dear Gini, just when I think I’ve read one of your best posts, I read this over lunch.  I think everyone who works in customer service (don’t we all in a way?) needs to read this.  Dan is a great model on paying attention to your customer (and you can insert “client” depending on your business) and developing a relationship with them.  I so love this and you bet am going to share with everyone and when I finally make my Chicago trip, well, we have to go to Sixteen.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@debdobson62 It’s one of the things I talk with my team about quite a bit. It’s OK to ask your clients about their personal lives. Get to know their interests. Find out about their kids. It’s part of the reason I have been so successful during my career – I treat our clients like friends.

Erin F.
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @debdobson62 I wish I could eavesdrop on one of the conversations you have with your team. They seem like good conversations.
 
I love learning details about people. I remember these sisters who would come to Nine West to buy Easy Spirit tennis shoes. They were retired, and they always gave each other a hard time about who got to buy the pink pair of shoes because, of course, they couldn’t wear the exact same pair. Any time they visited, we’d have a good chat about who’s turn it was to buy which pair of shoes. It was fun.

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago
I heard he writes stuff on every cup. 8)   I am proud that I have lived at least 8 miles from  starbucks since mid 2008 (now it is 18 miles) after living 9 years exactly half a block. My starbucks in redondo beach would see me coming and instantly make my coffee drink. It started out I got a ice mocha non fat latte extra shot and then after figuring I was spending $1872 a year there I cut back to an Iced Venti to reduce my spend by 33% lol They did give great service. And the secret… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG I totally agree. There are at least six coffee shops on my street (one that has delicious lattes) and we always go to Starbucks because we’re not a number. It really does make a difference.

Anthony_Rodriguez
3 years 6 months ago

Best story I’ve read all day!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Anthony_Rodriguez Pretty great, isn’t it?

ExtremelyAvg
3 years 6 months ago

@Anthony_Rodriguez I agree. I’m not a coffee drinker, but this makes me want to take it up.

HowieG
3 years 6 months ago

BTW @ginidietrich you do know that the reason you can’t call me is that @Adam | Customer Experience still has me on hold with weird Kraftwerk music since before your Follow Friday for him.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG  @Adam | Customer Experience I knew Adam’s head was going to get too big.

Adam | Customer Experience
3 years 6 months ago

@HowieG  @ginidietrich And now that I have the #FF on my resume, you really think I’m going to pick up the phone. Please. I will swap out the Kraftwerk for something better though — because I value your business. 🙂

ExtremelyAvg
3 years 6 months ago
Many years ago, when I was a lad of 17, I worked at the campus town McDonalds. It was pretty cool being around mostly college kids and I always worked on Friday and Saturday night.   Not long after I started, I was assigned to keep the lobby clean during bar rush. It isn’t as easy at it sounds, because people eat quickly and they rarely throw away their garbage. I needed to not only pick-up after them, but wipe down the tables.   One night, about 2 a.m. (we were open until 3 a.m.), Lefester Rhodes, the center for… Read more »
TaraGeissinger
3 years 6 months ago

@ExtremelyAvg That is an awesome story! Yet another example of how the little things truly add up. 🙂

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@ExtremelyAvg That. Is. Awesome. What a totally fun story! I’m with Tara. Great story!

EdenSpodek
3 years 6 months ago

I love this story and will definitely tell my family in Chicago to visit Dan @Sixteen next next time they’re looking for a place to go for an evening out.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@EdenSpodek  Yes!!

ifdyperez
ifdyperez
3 years 6 months ago

This was SUCH a cool story. I loved following it. 🙂

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@ifdyperez I’m kind of bummed it’s over!

InfoSara
InfoSara
3 years 6 months ago
Oh @ginidietrich I don’t know who I love more, you or Starbucks, but of course it’s Dan!!! I love this story and how you tell it, you are master of storytelling 🙂 Customer Services and Attention To Details certainly are the king and queen of services industry, I recently had excellent experience with a local cleaning services company who is the first EVER to clean my house spotless! Considering how many cleaning services I have used and quite often they either don’t clean the area you don’t see or do an average job cause you got voucher deal, hubby is never… Read more »
ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@InfoSara I need that cleaning service! I complain about our cleaning lady every time she’s here (I know; first world problems).

rdopping
rdopping
3 years 6 months ago

How timely is this story? I used to get coffee every morning at my local Starbucks and my barista always greeted me by name. Not so big, right? Well, I went there today again after over a year and found her there. She had left Starbucks for mat leave, had a baby and returned. I walked in and she greeted me by name. It blew me away and I turned 5 shades of red because I couldn’t remember her name.
 
There must be something about the hiring practice there. the people are genuine.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@rdopping That is awesome!! I went to the Starbucks near our old office on Monday. When I walked in, the barista said, “Oh sure. Walk in here and say hello like it hasn’t been months since you’ve been in.” I kind of love that.

chemam
chemam
3 years 6 months ago

What a great story! Its always the little things that matter.

chemam
chemam
3 years 6 months ago

What a great story! Its always the little things that make the difference – I hope Starbucks know they have a great service team!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@chemam I submitted the story to them so I hope they pay attention!

AlexisKing
AlexisKing
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  I am a Starbucks partner and just wanted to let you know that I came across your story on our Starbucks Partners Facebook page. So not only did they see your story but they shared it with all of us! I’m glad such a small thing has touched so many people.

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@AlexisKing Oh yay! I’m so glad to hear it! He is one of your rock stars!

AmyMccTobin
3 years 6 months ago

@AlexisKing  @ginidietrich What is really amazing is that Gini has been sharing this story with us as it unfolded…we all feel like we know her Barista, or at least we’ve all envied her for having him.  This post was just the culmination of one rockin customer service story.

liamgooding
liamgooding
3 years 6 months ago

Such a beautiful story. And a customer experience story that I wish could be replicated by more places.
 
Do you think anything in his training had driven him to do this? Or was he a diamond in the rough. An anomaly. A fluke. A CS genetic mutation.
 
Finding a barrista who remembers name’s is a find. Finding one who create’s his own customer engagement and loyalty program is whole new level!
 
Starbucks should have been throwing money at this guy to tour nationally and run seminars on customer engagement. They’re crazy to lose him!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@liamgooding I think it’s probably 75% him and 25% training. He kind of rocks. And your guest post for us rocked, too! I will stop by there later this week.

SJAbbott
SJAbbott
3 years 6 months ago

@liamgooding This guy is clearly a customer service diamond, but the magic is that Starbucks gives him permission to deliver it. They trust him, and the culture inspires him. There is no way a service trainer could tell employees about this tactic—it comes from the heart and charm of a person who understands a service relationship. HR lesson: Hire awesome people and get out of their way.

trackback

[…] you’re an avid reader of Gini Dietrich’s Spin Sucks you will have read her fantastic story of the ultimate Starbucks customer experience. Those of us […]

Lisa Gerber
3 years 6 months ago
I have a pattern of being a day late, but I saw this yesterday, and it was nice to read a happy story this week!!!   Exactly to @jeanniecw , @Adam | Customer Experience and your points, this just happened over the weekend at Perfection Tire: I’ve been going there for years but I don’t know if these guys know me by name or not so I called to make an appt not expecting them to know who I am. I said, “This is Lisa Gerber and I need to make an appt to…” and he goes, “LISA GERBER?!?!?! never heard of… Read more »
jeanniecw
3 years 6 months ago

@Lisa GerberExactly! It really doesn’t have to be huge. It’s typically a series of little things. I mean, you will remember that moment, right? It’s just a moment, but it is all it takes!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Lisa Gerber  It cracks me up he would say that to you! LOL!!

trackback

[…] a look at this extraordinary barista. Dan took the initiative and made this lady’s day special and entertaining by carrying a […]

Todd Nevins
Todd Nevins
3 years 6 months ago

I needed this story today.  Thanks!!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@Todd Nevins I”m glad you enjoyed it!

thefaxgirl
3 years 6 months ago

Great story Gini! I am not sure it will make me switch from Caribou to Starbucks, but I am strongly considering it! What a win-win for you & Dan! If everyone could see that doing good or producing good was a cyclical thing, our world would be so much brighter! I love this!! Pay it forward!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@thefaxgirl Mmmm….I do love the chocolate covered espresso beans at Caribou.

LeeAdams
LeeAdams
3 years 6 months ago

Truly heartwarming! Thanks so much for sharing.

shep@hyken.com
shep@hyken.com
3 years 6 months ago

It’s all about customer engagement.  Mr. D. gets it, knows it and lives it.  He’s a natural at it.  I bet he has great parents.

ExtremelyAvg
3 years 6 months ago

@shep@hyken.com I bet he does! When I see someone behaving badly, I always assume their parents were terrible people, so it would be reasonable to guess that his parents must have been great. Wonderful point!

ginidietrich
3 years 6 months ago

@ShepHyken Did you see his dad commented up there ^^??

ShepHyken
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich Yes!  Very COOL!

ExtremelyAvg
3 years 6 months ago

@ginidietrich  @ShepHyken I just did! That is awesome.

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