Customer service…learn from Starbucks

Okay, this is a blatant plug for my local Starbucks, but this morning I experienced great customer service and made me think about how other companies and industries could learn from this. The situation – I ordered my coffee drink, which was served to me barely tepid, and it was suppose to be hot. I informed them of this problem and was immediately told I would get a new, hot drink. No surprise there.

What was pleasant was the other worker who was running the cash register overheard this and immediately fished into the food case to give me a complimentary pastry. Now let us put aside the fact I did not need the extra calories nor sugar, but ensuring client satisfaction was exemplary. Regardless of having to make me two drinks and give me a free pastry, Starbucks still made margin off my sale and I knew that, but the anticipation of what might become a disgruntled client is a lesson we can all learn.

Thinking back to my former life in supply chain, that is one of the promised capabilities with good supply chain planning, execution and monitoring. For example, you are a computer chip manufacturer and realize that you will have a shortfall with delivery of your product to certain consumer electronic manufacturer. If you had good front and back facing visibility you could reach out to that consumer electronic manufacturer’s end client and offer a 10% rebate on their next order…or pay for the shipping due to delay.

Not only will you make the end consumer happy – you anticipated a delay and gave them something of value – but you also make your client happy since you made their customer happy. Oh and you gain some brand recognition with a client who otherwise might not know about you.

Of course companies will need the appropriate systems in place to anticipate and act on such situations. Something to think about next time you are at Starbucks or wondering about how to generate better customer service.

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