In February 2008 Starbucks closed for three hours to retrain more than 135,000 employees in an effort to create “a renewed focus on espresso standards.” Starbucks’ mission statement includes a point that states the company wants to “Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.” Howard Shultz, legendary founder of the coffee giant, said in a news release that the shutdown was a way to energize its employees and provide some barista re-education in the “art of espresso” at its 7,100 U.S. locations. Some said this training activity was a publicity stunt. If so, it worked. News sources from major networks to online news services to sales and marketing journals all picked up on the story. (Hey, this writer is guilty as well!)
A couple of days after this training was delivered, I stopped in a Starbucks in Chicago O’Hare Airport on the way to Tampa. Guess what – the training didn’t work. I received service that was uninspired at best. Don’t get me wrong – I like Starbucks. But the person who was supposedly trained to serve enthusiastically satisfied customers like me didn’t come through.
On the other hand, there is a barista named Rose that works at a Starbucks in Eden Prairie, MN that gets it. I don’t know Rose other than as her customer – don’t even know her last name or if she is a manager. I do know this – she is a service pro. She always has a smile on her face, gives exceptional service, and would make Howard Schultz proud! She greets customers as if they were old friends, with great eye contact and personality.
The moral of the story is simple – some people get it and some people don’t when it comes to delivering exceptional customer service. In other words, training is wasted if you don’t start by hiring the right people. So whenever you hire someone for your sales team, ask yourself if they seem to embrace the service standard that you desire for your customers and clients. If you don’t feel it immediately it probably isn’t there. After you hire someone who is enthusiastic and personal, then train them to become even better!
One last tip; for a great cup of coffee and fantastic service, try Dunn Brothers on Preserve Center Drive in Eden Prairie, MN. Dianne and Dan have built a great atmosphere that feels like friends and family.