February 26, 2013

Learning About Guest Experiences Over a White Chocolate Mocha

My quest for learning the Guest Services secrets of Starbucks began with a hot White Chocolate Mocha on a cold January day years ago. I settled into a comfortable seat, observing the friendly, welcoming interactions between the baristas behind the counter and their customers as they walked in. I didn’t know I was in for Guest Experience 101.

That single episode that sticks in my mind to this day was the following: While I was observing the barista’s interactions with customers, a young mother and her 3 year-old daughter walked into the store. As they were walking in the door, the barista came out from behind the counter, said hello to the mom, then knelt down in front of the daughter, calling her by name and engaging in a conversation for several minutes – all while other customers continued to come into the store. The store was well-staffed, so no one was held up by the barista’s actions. A seemingly small gesture? Maybe so, but it spoke volumes to me.

Later I asked the barista what prompted her actions. She replied, “It’s in the basic training all partners take when they start working at Starbucks. It’s called the ‘Starbucks Experience,’ and it’s all in this.” With that, she handed me The Green Apron Book.

SB Green Apron Book

 

Containing no less than the core philosophies and values of Starbucks, the Green Apron book is a small package with a large impact. Its simple but powerful structure contains guiding principles of the environments Starbucks baristas hope to create and legendary service they strive to provide. You can read it in about five minutes – and that’s if you enjoy your coffee while reading it. But it’s really leadership at its best: simple instruction provided in an appealing way, with a spirit that encourages baristas to make each Starbucks Experience uniquely their own.

The central theme is called “The Five Ways of Being”:

  • Be welcoming
  • Be genuine
  • Be considerate
  • Be knowledgeable
  • Be involved

Along with the core purpose, values, and mission statement, the book provides partners with concrete ideas on how to personalize relationships with customers by giving to, connecting with, and elevating customer interactions.

It closes with three simple sentences:

Creating the experience that keeps people coming back relies on the magical combination of three things: our products, our places, and our people.

They come for coffee, stay for the inviting warmth, and return for the very human connection.

Now go ahead, welcome your next new regular!

Don’t you wish you could say the same things about your Guest Experience process?

I was hooked! From that day on, I have been in and out of dozens of Starbucks all across the country, I have read all the books about Starbucks, I have talked with many baristas, and I even have the basic training materials used by Starbucks for new team members.

Starbucks gets it when it comes to Guest Experiences – why shouldn’t the Church?

You don’t need to copy the Green Apron Book for your Guest Experience team, but you do need to understand the principles behind it, develop concepts that will encourage your team to be fully engaged with the people they are welcoming to your campus, and apply them to your context.

How are you serving the guests at your church?

Day #7 of the 40 Day Guest Experience Journey

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