March 16, 2013

An Extraordinary Guest Experience Starts with a Smile

The theme for several days has been “People.” Next, it will be time for “Process” and the final week of our journey will be “Place.” Just keeping you on track!

The single most important part of your Guest Experience Team is the people that serve on it. During this week, we have taken a look at the various types of teams that comprise the typical Guest Experience Team in a church; been treated to the people secrets of one of NYC’s most famous restaurant owners; and gone backstage at Disney to learn the foundational principles their cast members use to deliver the magic.

Now it’s time for a cup of coffee – and a great lesson in creating an extraordinary experience out of an ordinary event.

I’m talking about Starbucks.

Love it or hate it (and it seems there’s not much middle ground) Starbucks began a revolution of “the third place,” creating an experience (with a price to match!) that consumers flocked to in droves. Even over the past few years with rising prices, store closings, and increased competition, Starbucks has some great lessons on Guest Experience that the church can learn.

Central to the experience at Starbucks is the barista, the smiling face that greets you when you come into the store and takes your order. I frequent Starbucks across the country (it’s a favorite meeting place for church leaders), and I am amazed at the knowledge, uniformity of service, and general attitude displayed – from Long Beach to New York City. Being naturally curious, several years ago I began a research project to see how the experience of Starbucks could be transferred to the church.

It turns out it could – and it all begins with The Green Apron Book you read about here.

Starbucks understands the importance of the front-line interaction its baristas have with their customers. They realize that customers can go almost anywhere to get a cup of coffee, but the experience that Starbucks delivers is not commonplace. As a matter of fact, Starbucks will even cut into its efficiency (and the risks that entails) to make sure the experience being delivered is extraordinary – but you can read about that tomorrow!

Day #25 of the 40 Day Guest Experience Journey

Begin the series here.

Day #24

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