Sitting in the airport, getting ready to board the plane I finished reading, “It’s Not about the Coffee” Leadership Principles by Howard Behar. He spoke of humanity and the love he has for people as they are. He spoke of truth, acceptance, and challenges. Whatever he spoke of, it always tied back to their partners. Partners are what they call all their employees because they are a part of the Starbucks dream.
Luck would have it my flight was delayed into San Francisco and my luggage was missing. No one was able to help me and just kept passing me along like a hot potato. Eventually, I sighed and gave up. I just accepted my luggage was gone. I went through security and ended up running into lady who was aware of my situation in front of the Starbucks counter. My voice carried frustration and disappointment as I reported to her I had to go on with no luggage. The Starbucks barista overheard my conversation and sympathized with me. She expressed she would have been in tears. She gave me a warm smile and handed me the cup and said “This one is on us! We would like to try and make your day better.”
I was floored! What you are kidding me? I just experienced what Howard Behar wrote in his book. I saw it carry out before my very own eyes. This lady probably didn’t even know who Mr. Behar was, yet she completely understood his principles. And, she knew in that moment it was NOT about the coffee. It was about how I mattered for a split second.
After reading “It’s not about the coffee,” I realized what Starbucks stood for and that it truly carried through to the customer. It wasn’t just a vision on a piece of paper in a boardroom. It was real.
Now, sitting on the plane I continue to formulate the “beliefs” of our scheduling company. Even though we help grow businesses with online technology, it doesn’t mean people don’t matter. In fact, it is even more important. Whatever we can do to make people feel respected and valued as the lovely people they are.
Unfortunately, Air (insert country name here) has forgotten they are still in the people business. I definitely feel like a number in seat 16 F with no luggage.
P.S. Has anyone experienced fabulous customer service they feel like sharing?
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