At the peak of their expansion, Starbucks was opening 7 new stores every day and adding 15,000 employees every week. How did a small coffee shop in Seattle end up with over 17,000 stores and revenues of more than $10 billion, selling $4 coffee in a fancy cup? How did Starbucks build such an incredible organization that has over 135,000 employees? How do they get their new employees to show up on time and excel at delivering exceptional customer service, especially when many of them are young, unskilled, and lacking little if any experience in business? If you knew the answers to those questions, do you think it might help you expand your business or on a personal level … help you to become more successful? Let me give you just a little insight to their formula for success.
Howard Behar, the former president of Starbucks once said, “We’re not in the coffee business serving people. We’re in the people business serving coffee.” When your entire business model is built around delivering exceptional customer service, you have got to figure out a way to instill the necessary SELF-DISCIPLINE in your people so they can correctly handle almost any situation. Long lines, complicated orders … and dealing with sometimes angry, mean, and in-a-hurry customers can be a daily routine for an employee at Starbucks. But, the customer and situation I just described can be the norm in a lot of businesses, so why are employees at Starbucks so good at dealing with it?
It all starts with training. Each first year employee will spend over 50 hours in the classroom and more time at home studying workbooks or conversing with mentors. Starbucks spends hours upon hours developing powerful habits to prepare their people for the onslaught of customers. They have found that following disciplined habits will enable their people to DEAL with almost any challenge they may face. They focus on life skills and helping them to handle their emotions and show them how to deliver a BURST of energy, pep, and enthusiasm when dealing with every customer. They role play with them, interact with them, help, guide, nurture and SHOW them how to handle many different SITUATIONS.
Starbucks has spent millions of dollars creating courses that TRAIN their people on not just the steps of the process, but more importantly, on how to maintain the self- discipline to “do it” every time. One acronym Starbucks uses to help their people is LATTE. It stands for Listen to the customer,Acknowledge their complaint, Take Action by solving the problem, Thank them, and then Explainwhy the problem occurred. Starbucks has developed numerous routines for their employees to follow to help them during stressful situations. By developing these routines, they are helping their people create the RIGHT HABITS to serve their customers. When an employee is PREPARED, EQUIPPED, and ARMED with the RIGHT HABITS to address almost any situation, delivering exceptional customer service becomes easy.