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IMAG0620 Current Customer Service Recovery CouponStarbucks customer service is top notch. I’ve been thinking about this all day. So today, on my way into work, I stopped at one of my usual stores. I ordered a chocolate banana smoothie. I stepped away from the bar, and played with my phone as I waited. The store wasn’t all that busy considering it was morning rush. I heard my name called out and went to the bar. I saw barista Shana and a blender with a banana some mocha sauce and some ice too. Shana said to me, “I’m so sorry. I just realized we’re out of protein powder. What would you like me to do? Do you want to wait while I try to borrow some from another store? Do you want something else.” I said pretty matter of factly, “Don’t worry about it. I’m in a hurry to get to work so just make the smoothie without the protein powder.” I wasn’t mad. Just figured it would be okay without it this one time and I wanted to get to work. My head was already there thinking about the workday that awaited me. Two minutes later (if that) my drink was ready. Shana (at the Pine Street Starbucks) passed me my drink and handed me a CSR certificate and apologized again. I was fine. I thanked her and even said, “You didn’t have to do that.” I can totally say that I wasn’t expecting a CSR certificate over the missing protein powder. During the day, I thought about it. And I have seen partners around here giving out CSR certificates  to customers when something goes wrong. It was a nice surprise. And I realized it more than “recovered” the experience for me. Those little cards are powerful. They really can make a customer feel surprised and delighted. Thank you Starbucks.

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Starbucks has made the news in many interesting ways in the past few days!

PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE IS COMING SOON:

If you want early access to the Pumpkin Spice Latte, you should follow the Twitter profile @therealPSL. There will be a scavenger hunt to earn early access. The Pumpkin Spice Latte will be available nationally on September 2, 2014. Early tasters will get their fix starting August 26th. (CNBC News article here.)

STARBUCKS TO IMPROVE BARISTA SCHEDULES:

Starbucks promises to improve baristas hectic schedules: the “Clopen” soon to become a thing of the past. A “clopen” is when a barista closes a store and then returns back to the same store early morning hours to open it up. In other words, this wrecks havoc on one’s sleep. It’s possible a person might leave the store at 10:00 PM and then have to return to that Starbucks at 4:00 AM for an opening shift. Starbucks also promises that baristas with more than a one hour commute may transfer to a closer store. This New York Times article sites an internal email from Cliff Burrows – I’d love to read it. Forward it to Melody@StarbucksMelody.com pretty please. ;) (New York Times article here.)

THE STARBUCKS TRUCK IS A REAL THING AT THREE COLLEGES:

The Starbucks truck will now be a real thing. Three Starbucks trucks will be on site at three different colleges, one of them being ASU.  You might recall, Starbucks recently partnered with ASU for an education benefit for their employees. I notice the news article says that the three Starbucks trucks will be operated by Aramark, meaning that they will be licensed store operations. (Bloomberg – Businessweek article here.) I noticed that the Businessweek.com article didn’t mention about whether customers will be able to pay with a Starbucks card and earn stars. I myself contacted Starbucks, and heard from an official Starbucks spokesperson (Maggie Jantzen)  already early this morning: “Customers can pay with Starbucks Cards and earn Stars at the Starbucks mobile trucks. You are correct that customers will not be able to redeem Rewards at these locations.

ANNIVERSARY BLEND IS NOW AVAILABLE AT STARBUCKSSTORE.COM:

Last but not least, Starbucks Anniversary Blend will be officially available in Starbucks stores on September 2, 2014. However, you can get it early by ordering it from StarbucksStore.com. The famous annual blend returns each September with its complex, dark, spicy flavor profile. StarbucksStore.com shows that you can now buy both the whole bean form as well as the Verismo pod format. I suspect, based upon what’s been offered in the past, that the K-Cup format will be available in Starbucks stores.

Anniversary Blend was first introduced in 1996 to celebrate Starbucks’ 25th anniversary. Special colorful banners and t-shirts were desgined for the stores. And this blend has remained an annual favorite ever since! (Starbucks Anniversary Blend on StarbucksStore.com)

In my Starbucks collectibles collection, I have an original 1996 Anniversary Blend banner and t-shirt. You can see what they look like here:

05469 25th Anniversary of Starbucks 1996 in store marketing00401_25YearAnniversaryTShirtStarbucks

This is an open thread. Feel free to talk about anything Starbucks related. As always, do not use or reproduce photos without my permission. Thank you.

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Starbucks in Sofia, Bulgaria: The 5th store.

by Melody on August 19, 2014

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Starbucks operates in 65 countries around the world! In Bulgaria, Starbucks operates only five stores, with the most recently opened in Sofia. It’s the fourth store in the city of Sofia, and the fifth in Bulgaria. This most recent store had its grand opening on July 11, 2014, and the store is nicknamed “Paradise” because it’s located inside of a shopping center called “Mall Paradise.” A regular reader (who is also a partner) sent me her photos from the opening day.

By the way, I was happy to see a great “smell” photo included. I’ve occasionally thought it would be fun to do an article of nothing but compiled “smell” pictures. If you have a pic that you want considered for this blog, please email me at Melody at StarbucksMelody dot com, or use the “contact me” form to reach me. Do to the volume of emails received, I apologize but I can’t promise that every one will be answered.

Enjoy the pictures from the grand opening of Paradise Starbucks in Sofia, Bulgaria!

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When you take a look around at Starbucks marketing materials, signage, and in-store design photos, notice the images of partners. They’re real people. From the partners who show up on the “Employment Opportunity” window clings to the wall designs and collages, Starbucks uses photographs of real partners.

Can you spot the 20-year Starbucks partner, who is a master coffee roaster? Do you recognize this wall collage?

IMAG1834 Brian on the wall of the Belfair WA Starbucks 17Aug14Now here’s a current photo of that master roaster, Brian H. This picture dates from just this month, and it’s a true snapshot moment-in-time real image of him at work:

Brian H - 11Aug2014 - 2I’ve now introduced you to one more partner who is famously featured in Starbucks stores everywhere! Hope you enjoyed this quick little blog post.

Photo credit of the current photo goes to theorgancries of Instagram. You can find me on Instagram as StarbucksMelody. (Thank you Starbucks for giving the two of us a special opportunity to meet Brian).

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Roy Street Coffee and Starbucks Fall Blend (2 wonderful things, not related to each other).

August 17, 2014

At about 8:30 AM today (Sunday, August 17, 2014) I dropped by Roy Street Coffee and Tea. It’s been way too long since I spotlighted this store. This location is entirely owned and operated by Starbucks. In fact, it’s one of just a few stores that are considered to be “Inspired by Starbucks” stores. An […]

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Quietly Testing Cold Brewed Coffee.

August 14, 2014

Starbucks is currently quietly testing iced cold brewed coffee. It’s a very small test in one district (in the Boston area) and the test is only slated to run for a few weeks. Partners are brewing core Ethiopia in a Toddy-system for cold brewing coffee. When it runs out for the day, they put stickers […]

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Say Hello Starbucks Fall Blend 2014. (Available in grocery stores and other such retailers).

August 13, 2014

“Welcome the season with a harvest of flavors. Layered and full-bodied, this three-region blend offers the best of all worlds. Sumatran beans lend the warmth of fresh spice notes while coffees from Kenya add citrusy brightness, and beans from Peru provide balance and a subtle nuttiness. This is the first time our master blenders have […]

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#WhereInTheWorld #Starbucks

August 12, 2014

I posted this image to Facebook recently: On Facebook, I simply tagged it as #WhereInTheWorld and #Starbucks, and then I made a very similar post on Instagram too.  Of course, immediately a number of people guessed right that this is a photo from the “SODO 8″ Starbucks. I took the pic on Monday, August 11th, […]

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What happened to the free tall coffee on the side of the Starbucks coffee package? What are stars?

August 10, 2014

Over the past year, I’ve been asked many times, ‘What happened to the free brewed tall coffee that you used to get for buying Starbucks packaged coffee at the grocery store?‘ That program is gone. The packaging that used to offer a free tall coffee has been phased out in favor of MyStarbucksRewards loyalty program. […]

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Hot August Bonus Stars: MyStarbucksRewards Promotions

August 7, 2014

Starbucks employs one-to-one marketing when it comes to promotions via MyStarbucksRewards. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but this is an excellent time to mention it again. This means that those who have a registered Starbucks card receive individualized promotions. There is a downside to one-to-one marketing: It’s confusing. At no point can a barista […]

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