I enjoy my morning coffee ritual for so many reasons. The obvious benefit is that wonderful jolt of caffeine that helps to jump-start my day.
Yesterday morning, as I was sitting at my usual Starbucks enjoying my tall dark roast for here, I thought about one of the other benefits to starting my day there: observing and learning from the constant flow of customers. Yesterday, however, I concentrated on observing the staff. At this particular Starbucks, the staff is phenomenal. They (and the coffee) keep me coming back.
Practices I observed include:
They listen. No matter how busy the store became, the listening never stopped. One customer seemed to be sharing a particularly long, drawn-out story with the cashier, even whipping out her phone to share a photo. The cashier seemed to hang on her every word, certainly making that customer’s day. Meanwhile, the baristas, busily concocting tall “this” and grande “that’s,” listened and chatted happily with customers waiting for their orders.
They speak the language of their customers. I observed that same cashier interacting with various customers. Her demeanor and vocabulary seemed to change, depending on which of her regular customers was in front of her at the moment. This savvy professional obviously knows the value of speaking the language of her customers.
They smile. All staff members smile – at their customers and at each other. A smile can go such a long way, especially first thing in the morning.
They work as a team. This particular crew is impressive, working seamlessly together as a tight-knit team in small quarters.
They never stand still. They work and move quickly and efficiently. Even when there was a momentary lull in the customer flow, I noted that no staff member stopped moving. Each person made good use of the short downtime by refreshing stock, replenishing ingredients, bagging up trash, etc.
They go the extra mile. At one point, yesterday, a customer inadvertently left her credit card behind. The cashier could have easily placed it behind the counter until the customer realized it was missing and returned to retrieve it. The cashier went the extra mile, however. When he realized what had happened, he raced out of the store into the parking lot, found the customer as she was about to speed away and, no doubt, made her day by returning her card immediately.
They know the power of “Thank You.” Along with a smile, those two powerful words were uttered every few seconds by cashiers, baristas and managers alike.
It amazes me what can be learned at Starbucks. These best practices should be universal, no matter what work we’re doing.
by Rebecca Cochran