i’m paying for the experience

Starbucks I was speaking with a colleague the other day and we began to discuss marketing.  He is the CEO of an executive search firm which specializes in diversity and as he was explaining what he is "selling" to his organizational clients.  He discussed that conceptually his company was redefining the landscape of an organization with talent that would not only significantly contribute to the organization but also make a difference in the community but "packaged" as diverse executive talent.

As it turns out, he had been in a conversation with an associate earlier in the day having the discussion as a by-product of an article he had read noting that Starbucks is selling "an experience" and McDonald's is selling real estate.  After all, one can purchase a cup of coffee at a gas station for $1.00 or make it oneself for pennies on the dollar.  We go to Starbucks and pay $4 – $6 for a cup of coffee for the experience.

Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm posting this from a Starbucks and the experience I'm getting isn't worth the 5 bucks.  I'm the only one relaxing though customers are coming and going constantly.  It's quiet today and I happen to be here during shift change.  Girl #2 (coming on shift) is complaining to, arguing with, fussing at Girl #1 (coming off shift) because there are some things she hasn't gotten to yet.  They fuss.  Attitudes are flying. 

Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm well within visual range of them and that my table is less than 5 feet from the service counter?

Customer with bad attitude arrives.  Admittedly, the guy was clearly having a bad day but Girl #2 tells Girl #1 that she needs to deal with him otherwise…. (she threatens bodily harm).

Customer with good attitude arrives and makes the mistake of asking about her day (all 15 minutes of it so far).  She decides to tell him the truth and proceeds to suck all of the air out of the room…..  Time for me to go.

Now don't get me wrong.  We are all entitled to have a bad day but when I go into Starbucks, I AM looking for a good experience.

If you have a customer service team and you're wondering why your sales are declining, you might want to just sit nearby and take a listen one day.  It might be quite enlightening.

Do you have a customer service horror story?

You were born to be great.

YES, you can!

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