I was browsing a Facebook group, and saw a post from a barista who was irked at this scenario: The customer complained that his or her beverage was wrong but did not want it remade.

I was reminded that everybody wants something different at Starbucks. No two customers are the same. Standing in your line, you’ve got all these personality types:

1) The Speed of Service Customer: He’s huffing and puffing that he has to wait more than 30 seconds to order and doesn’t understand why it takes more than two minutes to make a latte. He growls a lot. I never understand this person: I assume that he or she walks around with high blood pressure at all times and nothing is ever fast enough.

2) The Connection Customer: You know this type. They’re fine when there’s no line behind them, but you as a barista have to cut them off from talking when they’re at the register. They want to hear about your life plans, your education, your career, and talk your ear off. They have no concept of what 30 seconds is. I fear – this is true – I might fall into this group. Ugh. I’m working on improving. In some ways, they might not care what beverage you shove into their hands if they felt like they had a good visit. This is a regular customer.

3) The Perfect Drink Customer: Please make my foam perfect. I don’t want any bubbles. Can you do a half-pump of white mocha and a half-pump of mocha and add two Splenda? It’s a grande with one decaf shot.

4) The “I”m Broke” Treat Seeking Customer: This customer doesn’t come to Starbucks much. He or she considers it a treat and is appalled that the cost of an iced vanilla latte is more than buying a gallon of milk in the grocery store. He or she has to watch every penny and so may question the total charge every single time.

5) Any combination of the above.

What happens if the beverage isn’t correct? You’ve heard these words before: “My drink is wrong!”

1) The Speed of Service Customer: He or she grabs the drink (this person is also most likely to grab someone else’s food or drink) runs out the door, and has gone two blocks before gulping down half the beverage. This person almost never stays in the store to complain. Actually, this customer is the one that Starbucks risks losing permanently. It’s not worth their time to say anything. All they know is that their drink tasted off. They make a mental note not to go to Starbucks again and try some local shop. Starbucks doesn’t have the chance to recover this person. This is, of course, dangerous on a massive scale. Even a massive ship will sink with a thousand small holes.

2) The Connection Customer: He or she wants to be heard. They want their complaint acknowledged. They want to be thanked for their feedback. They want a genuine a response: “I”m sorry your Passion Tango Iced Tea wasn’t shaken. That’s a good point you brought up. I’ll be sure to remind others that the standard is that it’s shaken.” It’s quite possible, if this person felt heard enough, they don’t care about the drink being remade.

3) The Perfect Drink Customer: The drink should be remade. That’s all there is to it. No hassle about it. Remade three times if that’s what it takes.

4) The “I’m Broke” Customer: This isn’t everyone. But if you only go to Starbucks once in a while, it’s a confusing experience. The menu keeps changing. You aren’t really sure if what you ordered three months ago is even around anymore. And then, if you just spent $5 on a drink and you couldn’t afford to do so, a Recovery Certificate is going to make your mouth water. Remake the drink and possibly offer a recovery certificate. This person is also least likely to use a Starbucks card. He or she doesn’t go to Starbucks very much and so may not even be aware that there are rewards. This could be a good person to have a conversation with about the benefits of MyStarbucksRewards.

5) Any combination of above: This is tough because Starbucks kind of teaches a results-oriented solution to “My Drink is Wrong.” Just do the best you can.

The facts are this: With seventy million customers a week going through the doors of Starbucks, you are bound to see all of this at some point. It’s silly to think all customers want the same approach to an incorrect beverage.

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