What Starbucks Taught Me About Customer Service

Customer (or client) service is one of the bedrock elements of what we do as freelancers. My best friend, Misty Ellis is the manager of a Starbucks, and is truly the most exemplary customer service professional I’ve ever met. When she serves you, she makes you feel special, that she cares about you, and that she will ensure delivery of the best possible product to you. She’s been promoted twice in six months, and her regional manager comes to her when she needs help training new employees at soon-to-open stores.
What does this have to do with you? I’ve met and spoken with hundreds of voice talent, and attitudes about customer service are nearly as varied as the people themselves. I think that we could all learn something from the way Misty treats her customers, and how we could apply those elements to our own business–I can tell you for sure, she’s taught me a lot! Hope you enjoy!
1. What is your customer service goal with each person?
My customer service goal is to make sure each guest is highly satisfied with their overall visit.

2. Do you believe that what you do makes a difference?

I do believe what I do makes a difference. Absolutely! I interact with more than one hundred people a day in all variations. I have guests who come in who just need that special cup of coffee to make their morning better. I’ve had guests who just needed a smiling face and a genuine warm personality to remind them that someone does care. My team and I strive to make a difference in everyone’s visit. We treat every guest the same. For example, we have regulars who come in every day that we have developed a genuine relationship with, and then we have first time guests that are just passing through. Each guest is treated with a warm sincere welcome and an inviting environment. Although every guest has different expectations, it is our duty and passion to see that those are met. So, we have so many opportunities to make a difference.

3. What do you think you do that keeps customers coming back?

Our customers keep coming back because we make them our priority. There is no task that comes before them. Guests are always right, and we are to make sure of that. Without our customers, there would be no opportunity to make a difference or to inspire. It is nice to beĀ  employed and able to pay the bills, but for me and my team it is about the guest and their experience at Starbucks that gives us that overall satisfaction that we made that customers day and we possibly made a difference. Making customers the priority and making that connection. For example, learning each guest’s name and referring to them by it on every visit, learning their likes and dislikes, customizing their beverage that meets their needs, educating them, writing them a simply have a beautiful day on their cup for with every sip they take they will be reminded of how special they are.

4. Do you believe passion and belief in your product plays a part in ‘sales’?

I 100% absolutely do believe that having passion and believing in your product promotes sales. I do it everyday. I have a true passion in what Starbucks stands for and what they do. They assure quality in everything they serve. It’s just not about brewing and grinding coffee. There is more to than that. At my store, we like to tell each guest that their drink was made with lots of Starbucks magic and love. Each barista gives a little of themselves with each espresso customized beverage they make. To some it is like an art, a passion. Educating our guests about our products really makes a difference in our sales. For example, informing them of all the possibilities we can do with a vanilla latte to the variety of coffee blends we have available and how the beans themselves were processed, the origin which they come from, to how they were shipped. Me personally, having passion for what I do sells itself. Guests can tell and it shines through. I get excited when I talk about our products and what we are about.

5. If you could give someone a piece of advice on how to improve their customer service skills, what would it be?

If I could give someone advice on how to improve their customer service skills, I would say listen to your customer and find what pleases and suits them personally. Yeah at the end of the day it is just business but you can make a difference and leave a mark. That mark could be good, and that customer will be more than likely be a returning customer, or it could be a bad experience and you lost that customer, an opportunity to make a difference. Don’t forget that word of mouth travels fast. You want that customer to say good things to their family, friends, and coworkers about your business. It is important to make that customer your number one priority and remember they are always right. Customers can teach us things and make a difference in our lives. Without customers, the world (and your business) would stop turning. Think about it.


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