STARBUCKS CUSTOMER SERVICE: Best Practices Explained!!! (+ Free Tips)

Starbucks Customer Service
DiegoCoquillat

Do you want to know about some of the top customer service examples? Starbucks is always at the top of my mind when it comes to organizations that provide exceptional customer service, and here’s why…

Setting service standards and educating your personnel to meet them isn’t the only way to achieve greatness. It’s all about cultivating a service culture that encourages staff to add their own unique touches.

Consider this: by 2020, consumers will be able to handle 85 percent of their interactions without ever having to speak to a human. In today’s SoLoMo world, customers are more likely to conduct their own research on your firm before contacting you, and you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Starbucks, the coffee behemoth, is known for its excellent customer service. For better or worse, the company’s strategy has helped it gain global recognition. In a recent webinar titled, “The Last Digital Mile: Orchestrating Channels, Data, and Design to Thrive in a Digital World,” Janet Bailey, director of the customer service at Starbucks, offered some of her top digital customer service suggestions. We’ll thorough those latter in this text.

First off, let’s start with the basics…

Starbucks Customer Service: Overview

According to a real-life story by, Franck Louveau, Wei (his name is of Asian origin), his buddy, had invited other friends to join him for coffee at a Starbucks in Geneva (that was just before the COVID-19 restrictions). While waiting for his companions to arrive, he purchased a coffee and, as is customary at Starbucks, the attendant requested for his name to be written on the cup. Wei wasn’t a well-known name in Geneva, so the waiter scribbled “Wayne” on the cup. Wei politely corrected the attendant’s mistake.

He then sipped his favorite coffee and then thought it was time for a second coffee because his friends were late. According to logic, the attendant should have gotten it right this time.

Instead, after giving Wei a second look and perhaps taking inspiration from Wei’s attire (a well-groomed dark suit), he scribbled “Bruce Wayne” on the new cup, establishing a link to the identity of the DC Comics persona behind Batman.

That was accompanied by a complicit smile. The funny nonsense came to a natural conclusion with the drawing of a bat above the name Batman clearly printed on the last cup when it was time for a third coffee (the pals eventually arrived – “awfully” late as they say in London). As

Frank would put it, that day, a superhero was revealed, and it was none other than Wei, a regular customer.

What is Service Excellence?

A good service, from the standpoint of a brand or company, is the consistent delivery of what the brand has promised – whether it be a luxury or a standard brand.

The level of service excellence should be judged in relation to the brand promise rather than in absolute terms. That is to say, in the instance of Starbucks, “We are not in the coffee business serving people but in the people business serving coffee,” in the words of its founder Howard Schultz. Starbucks places a premium on the quality of the customer experience, therefore both coffee and service follow a different philosophy: a people-centered approach.

Does that make Starbucks coffee excellent?

Not at all! Different means that the service and experience are rated on their ability to deliver the experience that was promised rather than in comparison to other coffee providers.

Consider the example of the cardboard cup.

How can anyone expect to serve coffee in a cardboard cup with any level of excellence?

At Starbucks, a cardboard cup is not the vehicle of greatness, as a fine porcelain cup could be in another coffee shop. The brand promise is tied to the customer experience: a people-centered approach in which you will be served a coffee with your name on it, in your preferred flavor and size, and most of all, in a beautiful location. You can relax and wait for your buddies at Starbucks, work, or take your coffee with you and walk to your next meeting.

In the case of Frank’s friend Wei at Starbucks, I feel we can plainly see the employee going above and above. The staff could have corrected the name immediately away and apologized for the misspelled mistake from the start. Instead, the employee made the correct decision to create a one-of-a-kind customer experience for Wei to share with others.

Service excellence, in my opinion, blossoms when the customer experience is one-of-a-kind, constructed with special care for the client or guest, emotive, and ultimately memorable.

Read Also: STARBUCKS LOGO: Evolution, Significance, Branding Models & Tips

What we can see in this Starbucks example is not only the rightservice performance but also the right employee mindset, which reflects in results that are above and beyond expectations.

Starbucks – and other organizations – provided a work atmosphere and service culture that allowed employees to not only decide what is best for the consumer but also to develop solutions for each customer in a specific setting that will provide a unique and memorable experience.

And when it comes to managing service excellence, this is a crucial lesson to remember.

Service excellence entails not just precise execution and operational aspects of your organization, but also empowering each of your staff to fulfill your brand promise. It’s acknowledging that your brand’s customer experience is a critical component. It’s all about:

  • creating a vision that motivates your team
  • expressing your brand’s beliefs
  • expressing what it means for your staff to “live” your brand
  • ensuring that your company’s, brand, and customer service initiatives are all in sync
  • being genuine: genuine brands deliver genuine experiences

If you want your employees to help you deliver on your brand promise, you must have a reciprocal connection with them. In essence, it’s a partnership between you and your employees if you demonstrate your worth and gratitude for them and their efforts.

Read Also: Employee of the Month: Best Practices, Templates & Ideas

Even a minor hiccup may be turned into a beneficial experience in this regard since, at the end of the day, “people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did – but they will never forget how you made them feel” (Maya Angelou)

Service Excellence: Creating Customer Experiences That Build Relationships

Today, 84% of customers believe that a company’s experience, Starbucks for example, is just as important as its products or services. Only 8% of customers say they receive a “better experience,” while 80% of businesses believe they do.

What’s the source of this pause in customer service? As a manager in charge of a service company, how should we approach it? How can a service-oriented culture be established? How can we identify the dynamics of excellence – which is also the dynamic of value creation in the “service profit chain at work” – as a group?

It’s not enough to provide “excellent service” to turn a consumer into a brand advocate. If you treat your clients with respect, they will respect your brand. Working on customer service will increase brand advocacy among your target audience and inspire individuals to tell others about what they like about your company. Of course, operational excellence must be combined with customer service if your firm is to achieve a position where every connection with a customer provides a memorable experience.

It will aid in the development of long-term consumer relationships as well as brand loyalty. When a member of your team establishes an emotional connection with a customer lke the Starbucks example, the best customer experiences are achieved. Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached to your product or service, and they recall how they feel when they use it.

Read Also: NIKE LOGO: The Story Behind Great Branding!!!

The important questions you should be asking yourself if you want to provide excellent service are;

  • What is the goal of our brand and organization in terms of providing value to its customers?
  • How well do we know our customers and what they expect from us?
  • Beyond our products/services and procedures, how is value produced and enhanced?
  • How good are we at providing a pleasant customer experience?
  • How does our organization encourage and empower its workers to provide excellent service?
  • What is our team’s level of engagement?
  • How is our team adding value to our clients and providing a one-of-a-kind experience?
  • How does our company’s service culture contribute to the production of value for our customers?
  • What tools do we give our employees in order for them to fully embrace our brand principles and become our finest brand ambassadors?

The people are what matter here: if you treat your staff and customers as human beings, everything else will fall into place. If you treat your employees like partners, they’ll go above and beyond what you imagined was possible. And if you think of your customers and communities as “the people you serve,” you’ll develop a strong bond with them, and they’ll return again and again.

Why Starbucks Gets It Right When It Comes to Customer Service

It’s 5 p.m., and you need a quiet space to finish a crucial presentation. At home, video games keep you occupied; at work, on the other hand, there’s a mountain of paperwork on your desk. What you truly need is a “third place,” a place where you can work in peace while being caffeinated.

That’s the appeal of Starbucks, a coffee shop that has built a reputation on this philosophy since 1971. Not only that, but one Venti cup at a time, they provide some of the best customer service in the industry. Starbucks knows how to provide excellent customer service.

It continues to grow and think of new methods to provide their customers more than simply scorching hot coffee and exquisite lattes, and here is why they get it right every single time.#

#1. They Pay Attention to Their Clients

Starbucks released “My Starbucks Idea” in 2008, which was a stroke of genius. The idea was to provide customers with a more convenient manner to express suggestions and complaints than a suggestion box.

As a result, over 300 of the microsite’s ideas have been implemented in Starbucks locations throughout the world. The new Hazelnut Machiatto flavor, a free birthday treat, and even the iconic green splash sticks, which are now on the self-service counter near the napkins and sleeves, are just a few of the highlights. All of this came about as a result of listening to what customers wanted and making the appropriate adjustments.

#2. They Invest in Branded Merchandise

Whether given away for free or sold at a gift store, custom promotional gifts are always valuable. With their eye-catching travel mugs, tumblers, and ceramic mugs printed with their mermaid logo, Starbucks knows all about value.

Every season, they switch up the drinkware to keep things interesting for their devoted fans. Starbucks mugs are now among the most well-known promotional items of all time! They’ve even appeared in popular flickslike The Devil Wears Prada and hit shows like Sex and the City. It just goes to show that a great promotional item is always the center of attention!

#3. They Provide a Relaxing Environment for Everyone

Starbucks has created a pleasant and welcoming environment. Customers feel at ease in their stores because every aspect, from the lighting to the furnishings, has been meticulously examined.

Take the round tables, for example, which were intended to make solo persons feel less alone while simultaneously allowing bigger groups to communicate. This option is useful for everything from study sessions to business meetings.

It also demonstrates Starbucks’ attention to detail. They’ve established a welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to come back again and again, which is the goal of every successful business.

4. They Provide Bonuses

My Starbucks Rewards, which began in April 2016, is a loyalty program that rewards frequent customers with perks and advantages. Every $1 spent earns you two “stars,” which can be redeemed for free drinks, the opportunity to pay by phone, and a fast pass through the queue. You can even obtain a unique Starbucks Rewards Visa® Card if you’re very dedicated.

People like My Starbucks Rewards because they get something for free and have a better mobile app experience. These are aspects in customer service that should never be overlooked.

Customer Service Lessons from Starbucks

Starbucks now ranks alongside global brands such as Apple, Coca-Cola, and Google.

All of these businesses are well-known in the United States and around the world, and for a coffee shop to land such a prestigious spot is nothing short of remarkable.

When you first consider opening a coffee shop, your first thought may be on the sales. However, what Starbucks has done really well is create a positive customer service experience. So here are a handful of Starbucks customer service takeaways:

#1. Meet your customers where they want to be met

Find the white space and the platform where your audience is reaching out to you, and focus on it. Starbucks has a total of 35 million Facebook likes, 8 million Twitter followers, and 4.8 million Instagram followers.

On these platforms, Starbucks is always asking for input and participating in conversation with its customers.

#2. Think Mobile, Mobile, Mobile! 

It’s no surprise that the Starbucks Card app accounts for 18% of all transactions. Today’s consumers spend more time on their phones than on any other gadget. It’s critical to personalize your mobile experience for your target audience.

So ask the important questions like; Is it more convenient for them to use an app? Is it possible to have a mobile-friendly website? When do your clients visit your mobile site and/or app, and how often do they do so?

#3. Make Personalisation a Priority

Starbucks understands that the experience is just as important as the product. Each Starbucks shop has the same appearance and feel as the others, but is tailored to the local area. Your coffee is served by baristas who know your name. If it’s not exactly what you requested, they’ll make it right and ask how they can improve your experience.

Starbucks just announced a partnership with Spotify in which employees would create customized playlists for each store location.

#4. Help Customers Decide by Asking Questions

By asking questions, you can assist customers in making decisions. Do you know what distinguishes Starbucks from other brands? They’re not only order takers; they’re also problem solvers.

Starbucks baristas ask questions, and it’s a very efficient procedure that helps customers complete a transaction effectively. As a result, you’ll frequently hear them inquire of a new customer, “Do you prefer coffee or tea?” “Do you want your coffee hot or iced?”

Basically, you’ll lose clients because they don’t know what they want but if you ask them questions to assist them decide.

#5. Know the Name of your Customers

At Starbucks, a barista puts your name on your cappuccino cup and announces your name at the counter. Knowing your customers’ names is only the beginning of getting to know them better and keeping them as customers.

Also get to know them better. Starbucks personnel are not just familiar with their clients’ names, but also with their personal lives and enterprises. They know if Roger is a writer or if Sally meets with her friends every Friday at noon to plan their Saturday soiree.

#6. Dissatisfied Customers Want You to Feel Responsible

This may appear to be unjust, but believe me when I say that taking responsibility for the outcome of your customer transactions is wise. By not blaming clients who are sometimes at fault, Starbucks baristas always ensure that they are providing a better customer service experience.

Don’t prove the customer wrong, or they’ll leave with a slew of negative stories about you to tell their friends. Instead of focus on who did the right thing, resolve the conflict.

#7. Make your Customers Smile

Smiles appear to be contagious at Starbucks, and it’s something they do really well most of the time. With funny banter, dialogue, or a comment on a new haircut, baristas make their customers grin.

Make an effort to brighten your customers’ days when dealing with them. You’ll see that if you cheer up your customers, you’ll be able to keep them.

#8. Allow as Much Customization and Personalization as Possible

Allow for as much individualization and customization as possible. It’s impossible not to notice customization and personalization in your Starbucks orders.

It’s as if the consumer gets to choose whether he wants his caramel macchiatto with less than one shot of espresso, iced, or with more caramel. As a result, it is now known as “Troy’s drink” or “Amabel’s drink” rather than “Starbucks’ drink.”

A smooth experience is provided via real-time customization or customization based on a barista’s recommendation. Be flexible in everything you deliver to your customers, from product or service offerings to everything you deliver, and they’ll appreciate you for it.

#9. Don’t Neglect Product Quality

There’s never a chance at Starbucks that quality isn’t a top concern. It’s also something they do consistently and effortlessly, as if it’s built in their DNA. Of course, as a worldwide brand with a great regard for quality, Starbucks follows a very efficient and methodical process to ensure that every drink it serves to consumers meets certain quality criteria.

Do we make a conscious effort to ensure that our clients obtain high-quality products? Are our systems capable of consistently meeting and delivering the same high quality in our products and services?

Takeaways

Starbucks is a great example of a profitable corporation with excellent customer service procedures. It doesn’t just state customer service or care for the sake of saying it. It is a goal among the partners or employees who work for it.

Starbucks’ meticulous placement of an efficient system and process comprised of various touch points, such as the initial greeting, atmosphere, product displays, baristas, and check-out experience, demonstrates that the company understands customer service experience. From the beginning to the end of the visit, they ensure that customers are completely satisfied.

Starbucks Customer Service FAQs

How do I make a complaint to Starbucks?

Call Starbucks Customer Service if you can’t find out where to file a complaint. The number to call is 1-800-782-7282. In the United States, every licensed Starbucks has a district manager who works directly for Starbucks. Hopefully, your suggestions will be forwarded to the district manager.

How do I email a complaint to Starbucks?

To make a complaint about Starbucks, you can send an email. The address to use is investorrelations@starbucks.com.

How do I get a refund from Starbucks?

If you are unhappy with your food or beverage item for any reason, Starbucks says on its website that they will gladly remake it for you. Call 1-800-STARBUCKS to return an unused Starbucks Card with the original receipt (782-7282).

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