The Customer Experience: What is really happening in the stores.
I’m inviting other customers to tell me their Starbucks stories. To be clear, I’m not asking for blog comments (though you may do that if you wish), rather I’m taking the pulse and the temperature of Starbucks. I’d invite you to email me:
Since I’m interested in taking the pulse of the store experience, what I am not looking for is old stories, from time gone by. Also, to make it clear, I’m not suggesting that I’ll use your story in any particular blog post. (Though I might consider that, it’s not the goal here). I’m looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just your honest experience. It could be anything. It could be a conversation at the register that struck you in a certain way. It could be a slow store experience. It could be a barista who made your day. Anything. It could be your experience in redeeming a reward. There are countless kinds of things that could lead to in-store stories.
I am asking that whatever you email me about, that it must have happened within the past few months. As I mentioned, it’s a look at the current pulse of Starbucks. Also, I’d like specifics. Things like, “I went to a Starbucks in Orange County and my drink tasted wrong,” would be too vague for me to make sense of.
I’ve often said this, but my own experiences at my home stores are perfect like 90% of the time. I occasionally question whether others are also feeling like their stores are friendly, providing quality drinks, and creating enthusiastically satisfied customers. Is the level of professionalism the same across the country? This request, as I’ve mentioned is mostly for my own curiosity. I want to know what your Starbucks experience is like.
By the way, there’s no way for me to track many Facebook comments across many shares, so this is not a request that you answer the question with a Facebook comment or Tweet. I’m genuinely looking for email (or a comment on the blog, if that’s what you like).
Robin, I don’t want to minimize what you wrote. It’s true that some stores might act like customers are unaware of nonverbal prickly behavior. It’s not welcoming and customers do notice. But you did exactly what I wasn’t looking for. It’s very vague. There’s no real context as to when or where this is happening. I understand you may not wish to divulge what is the Starbucks near your house or more specific timing , so I intentionally invited people to email me.
Hi Melody! This may be kind of vague in terms of details that you are looking for but I do want to share my experience. With the rollout of mobile ordering I find myself spending much less time in the stores. I visit once or twice a week, placing my order after dropping my daughter off at school. My order is always ready and this is usually around 7:40am, what can sometimes be a busy time at my store. Baristas always greet me whether they are busy or not. I recently placed an order at another, busier store and they keep mobile orders behind the counter versus at the bar like my regular store does. On this day I did have to wait maybe two minutes before I was asked if I had a mobile order which is understandable for this store.
I’m curious if your other readers have also become more reliant on the mobile ordering much like I have.
@Steve Tuck – I’m not a big user of using mobile order and pay. I do notice it’s much, much nicer when they call out your name and have a customer-facing pick up area.
On Saturday morning I was on my way to Costco and placed a mobile order at 87th & Lackman in Lenexa, KS. I arrived about 2 mins later to find about 15 people waiting on their drinks (and only 2 in line to order). I hadn’t expected mine to be ready anyway, so I walked over and sat at the bar, waiting for my order to come up. Not once was I greeted by any of the four people behind the counter (unusual). The barista was obviously stressed and working somewhat efficiently, but seemed to be flustered and failed to call names with the drinks as she set them out which was causing some customer confusion at the counter. There was another working on the cold drinks; he wasn’t particularly pleasant when a customer pointed out her incorrect order and he threw out, “Yea, we made the wrong size, we’re gonna have to remake it.” The customer seemed taken aback by his tone and waited patiently for a remake, while another customer advised the hot drink barista that her order was missing a cake pop. The barista’s answer to THAT customer was to point to the girl at the register and say, “You need to take it up with her because she rang you up.” I received my drink about 13 minutes after arriving, so 15 minutes from ordering.
I frequent this location fairly regularly, but I hadn’t seen either of the barista’s prior to Saturday, and I’ve never experienced that type of dismissive attitude and an extra-long wait in the same visit. They’re busy every time I visit, but they are always friendly and I haven’t before had a negative experience there. It was disappointing, but my drink was made correctly, which was the correct end result.
Don’t mind telling if you want to know. It’s the Starbucks in Colorado Springs, located at 4272 N. Academy Blvd. Been visiting Starbucks since the early 1970s, and this particular barista is the nastiest one I’ve ever met.
Going into a Starbucks has increasingly become a gamble on what experience I am going to get. As a former Barista who took tremendous pride in his work, love of our guests, and coffee (and still does)–I find it all rather conflicting.
There are many stores and partners who get it. They go the extra mile, the ry learn my name, something about my story, my drink(s), and they genuinely want to be there. There are the ones who are doing the extra work that is helping these new labor cuts to not be a complete disaster, but they are burning out.
I had a conversation with my old manager the other day, and he confessed to me that he’s had to give up on training partners to engage. This from the guy who taught me everything I know about customer service. He told me he’s had to settle for showing partners how to say “Hello” and “Goodbye” with empathy and that is all. To hear him say this as we’re connecting (years after I’ve left the company) over Kopalani Blend and whats going on in our lives has crushed me.
On other end are stores and partners who are just going through the motions. The Starbucks nearest to my home now makes no effort to connect (and I try every day to engage them). They simply have no time and no one encouraging them to connect. I can easily brew my own coffee at home or in the office, but I used to love connecting with new partners, talking about coffee and the community, and being a part of a third place–but sadly it doesn’t exist outside of the rare exceptional stores (who deserve large amounts of credit for keeping this reality alive).
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I was spending about $100 a month at Starbucks, just to use it’s WIFI. Began patronizing a Starbucks near my new house. From Day One, a barista there seemed to have a problem with me for no apparent reason. She would never greet me when I walked in as every other Starbucks employee did. She game me the silent treatment, and kept her register conversation to a minimum. Talked to her manager about it, and was assured the problem had been dealt with, but the issue continued. Once I asked for a drink to be remade and I caught her rolling her eyes at me. That sign of disrespect was the final straw. I broke down and purchased WIFI for my home, and left Starbucks in my rear view mirror, never to return. I guess I should thank rude Zoe. Without her snide attitude, I wouldn’t be saving $60 a month paying for my own WIFI.