Great Marketing 101: Starbucks, Smoothies and One Great Barista

Posted on
January 17, 2019

A week or so ago I was at Starbucks for a client meeting and decided to try their Vivanno Smoothie. 

The problem is that I’m very particular (this is very different than nit-picky). This is further complicated by a few dietary challenges.

Now, before you are too quick to judge, please consider that clients reinforce this behavior by paying me to be particular. Ha. Regardless of the type of project, one common denominator they seem to value is attention to details.

Anyway, back to the story.

So, I asked the Barista if she would prepare a Vivanno for me but with a catch. I wasn’t really sure what flavor I wanted. ;) My only two requests of her were that she lose the bananas (unless she wanted to see me drop to the floor in front of her, suffocate and die from an allergic reaction) and that she make it great. Shouldn’t be too difficult, I conjectured.

I may be wrong, but I think bananas are a main ingredient for a great Smoothie. So I think this was a legitimate challenge.

Well, not only did the Barista gladly and confidently accept the challenge, but she enthusiastically proclaimed, “I’ll make the most incredible smoothie you’ve ever had!” In fact, she was downright gung-ho about it and took this as an opportunity to show off her mad skills.

Wow. How refreshing to engage someone who was confident and eager to please.

The smoothie turned out to be reeeaaally good. I don’t think it was incredible, but it was definitely good. You know what? It really didn’t matter.

The whole exchange was so pleasant, that I left with a sense that there is still hope in the world. There’s still such a thing as great customer service and the smartest organizations get this.

Funny how such a moment can brighten your day.

Clearly, this Barista was hard-wired to please customers. It’s obvious to me that Starbucks nurtures this attitude as one of their core values. BTW, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this experience with them. It’s happened over and over and over at several of their locations. That’s great branding.

Takeaway #1: 

If you are going to be particular, be kind and gracious in your demeanor. Most of the time, people can handle you being persnickety if you respect them and acknowledge that you may be a bit whacked in your approach. As you know, they simply don’t respond well to demands.

Takeaway #2: 

Having a great product is important, but having a great attitude is critical. People respond to people, not products. How you engage them is what matters most.

Takeaway #3: 

Everyday, we have the opportunity to go beyond what is required of us. An eagerness to do so is one of the things that separates good people from great people. Be great. If you are, your church or ministry will be.

Posted in
July 23, 2015
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