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Starbucks’ way: connect, discover, respond

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in Leaders & Managers

Ever been served by someone who couldn’t care less? Sure you have.

To avoid that sin in your own operation, use a Starbucks customer service technique called “connect, discover and respond.”

Connect. Legendary service has always been based on exceeding expectations. Lydia Moore of Oakland, Calif., met her future husband at a Starbucks. As their wedding plans progressed, the coffeehouse staff celebrated with them, putting up the couple’s photo on the shop’s bulletin board and making them feel like celebrities. Shortly after their marriage, Lydia’s husband developed cancer and died a year later. The Starbucks staff even attended the funeral.

Discover. Top customer service professionals find out what customers really need by showing interest.

Respond. Many organizations connect with clients and find out what they need. Not all of them actually respond. Betty Doria of Middle Island, N.Y., was traveling with her husband when they stumbled upon a Starbucks. A sign advertised coffee with malt. “Real malt!” Betty said, just like when she was a kid. But when she tasted her coffee, it wasn’t that great. Instead of blowing off a customer, the manager made another drink to her satisfaction.

—Adapted from The Starbucks Experience, Joseph A. Michelli, McGraw-Hill.

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