Let me start off by saying I love… I mean LOVE… my local Starbucks. I have written half-a-dozen books and a veritable boatload of copywriting projects for clients while sitting at my favorite corner table. I sip my latte (grande, with just a pinch of raw sugar) and occasionally look up to chat with my favorite baristas.
Tonight I walked in, said hi to Max, tossed a loose coffee bean at his head, and ordered my usual. Before ringning me up, he says, “I’ve got something for you.” He disappears for a moment, then emerges with an envelope – greeting card sized – with my name on it. It wasn’t large enough to contain anything that would jump out or shock me, so I opened it.
Ahhhh, a card…! And not just any card.
Splashed across the top is the message, “Thank you for brightening our day.”
Inside? The message, “Congratulations on being chosen as one of our greatest guests.”
So far, so good, right?
A little slip of paper fell out as I opened it, which I pick up and read. “Our Passion is Your Reward. Please enjoy a 12oz Starbucks beverage of your choice with our compliments.”
That’s pretty nice, right?
It was, until I learned that a 12oz is the “small” (also known as “tall”) drink. Ugh.
I’m very particular about my caffeinated beverages, and I’m not a “tall” drinker. So instead of being left with the warm, fuzzy feeling I started out with… enjoying being recognized and appreciated… I am left thinking: “What penny-pinching fool had to ruin this experience by not wanting to give up an extra few cents and let me choose whatever size drink I wanted.”
I guess it seemed like a good idea to whoever pitched and approved it. But, in the real world, they are going to end up with a lot of people disappointed, like me, instead of raving and evangalizing.
Of course, I’ll still be back tomorrow with my usual order.
That’s one nice thing about intelligently building a relationship. Once established, people will let “little things” slide they never would otherwise. But it can also be a downfall. Because when the bar for our relationship has been set as high as the great crew at my local Starbucks have done, stuff like what happened tonight can be a true letdown.
(And it continues… Check out Part II of Starbucks and Customer Appreciation.)