Why Starbucks Wins & What Local Businesses Can Learn From Them

in On Local Business Marketing

Yesterday, I posted about two nasty experiences I had with employees and closing times (see A Simple Way to Happier Customers)…

…it’s time for the flip-side.

Three weeks ago I pulled an all-nighter. Around 5am, craving caffeine, I decided it was time for a Starbucks break. I hopped in the car and drove down the street, pulled up outside Starbucks, and noticed the sign was still dark and the lights were off inside. I thought they opened at 5am, but it was Sunday and the store was still closed. I stopped the car, went up to the door to look at the hours so I’d know when to come back, turned around to walk back to the car.

I figured the coffee would have to wait…

…until the lock threw and the door flew open and one of my regular baristas noticed me, asked me how I was doing and whether I wanted something to drink. Now, get this (and pay attention Borders, Hollywood Video and other retail folks) … the store didn’t open for another hour! … but he let me in, make me an espresso drink, and didn’t charge me a penny. (He got a very big tip.)

Starbucks “gets” it.

Managers at Starbucks put tremendous attention into hiring good “people people.” People who enjoy interacting with and pleasing others. Their hiring and training process is designed … systematically … to produce events like the one I described. It isn’t an accident. It isn’t left to chance. And it’s part of why they win.

How does your hiring and training measure up?

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