For all of the negative news and complaint-based customer service stories we are bombarded with on a daily basis, there are quite a few remarkable silver linings proving that people among us still strive to make a difference. Small and big. For all of the rants smattered on social media from disgruntled customers, there are also glowing reviews and stories of exceptional customer experiences that, unfortunately, get lost in the shuffle. For every nasty passenger clapping about a child getting thrown off a plane for allergies, there is a flight attendant walking a crying baby down the aisle to give weary parents a break.

And then there’s this latest gem from coffee behemoth, Starbucks.

The Washington Post recently ran a story about a Starbucks barista who took it upon herself to learn sign language, allowing her to communicate with a regular customer.

Here’s the abridged version for the sake of time. A 23-yr old, deaf patron of a Leesburg, VA Starbucks, would typically type his order into his phone and then show it to the barista who usually helped him during his weekly visits. However, one random day, when he walked in expecting to go through the same drill, he was instead met with a barista who took his order in sign language. She then passed him a note that read,

“I’ve been learning [American Sign Language] just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”

If that doesn’t give you the feels AND show that amazing things happen when people take the time to tap into their customers’ needs and do what they can to give them the best experience possible, I don’t know what will.

The patron was shocked, thrilled and eager to share his experience on social media, asking others to share as well and broaden exposure for support of the deaf community.

This is a stellar example of how great companies teach everyone to act like an owner. Acting like an owner is exactly what this particular barista did – she took it upon herself, as if the coffee shop were her own – to go out of her way to make a certain customer’s experience the very best that it could be. No holds barred… including learning a whole new way to communicate. It’s also the ultimate example of the power of great customer experiences, and a great demonstration of how and why all brands should be striving for the same level of customer interaction.

That incredible Starbucks barista deserves major kudos and probably doesn’t even realize the true impact she had. We should all try to be a little more like her!

What customer experiences inspired you this week? Tweet me @GaryMagenta using #CreatingaKillerCX and tell me about them!

March 7, 2016


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