A while back I wrote about my experience at Starbucks when Joe and I were going to a movie. As you will have guessed, I did contact Starbucks and sent them a link to my blog post. That, I thought was that. Well, not true, I expected a 'thanks for your feedback, we welcome and appreciate customer input' kind of email response. But that's not quite what happened ...
Joe and I were in the wilds of Northern Ontario driving home from a training. The cell phone rang, I noticed the area code, and this will tell you a lot about our lives, I answered expecting the pharmacy. But I was wrong, I found myself speaking to a Starbucks manager who wanted to talk to me about my experience. She was unrelentingly nice, even in the face of my disbelief that she actually cared about the experience. I was in a 'bad place' when she called and was therefore not really receptive. I said something like, 'Can we just acknowledge that you are just calling to do the 'oh we care' routine, and move on?' She, who had every right to be affronted by my rudeness (I'm not always nice, I know, and being 'in a bad place' is no excuse) but she was not.
We talked a bit and she asked me what I wanted. I said, simply, 'Change.' I asked her about company rules and she explained them to me, there is no 'you can't put lids on cups for customer' rule. So we talked, she and I. All I wanted, I told her, was for her to have a staff meeting, talk about my experience, problem solve other solutions and then send me the minutes of the meeting. She agreed immediately.
A couple days after the call we went back to that movie theatre to see another movie and I wanted to get a tea. Joe said, 'Please, don't.' He sometimes just wants us to be out and a couple without dealing with crapola. I said, 'I'll not make an issue.' Well, there was no issue, I was served politely and well. I was given my tea in a manner that made it possible for me to carry without getting help. It was great. Somehow I knew that she was behind this.
Surely enough, I got an email from her with the meeting notes and a follow up from her. She had been as good as her word, she obviously did care and did want to make sure that my experience wasn't repeated.
So, I find myself in the terrific position of saying, 'I was wrong to think that systems can't change and that people don't care.'
Starbucks is lucky to have this woman working for them. She manages to deal with difficult (cough, ahem) people and still see that their issue is legitimate. This is a real skill, one that I don't always have. Anyways, thanks to her, thanks to Starbucks.
My assumptions that big corporations have small hearts was what assumptions often are - wrong. I apologize for that assumption. I thank Starbucks and it's very able representative for listening, respecting and responding. You can't know what a difference that makes for me.
And that, as they say, puts the lid on it.