Update: I decided to pay a visit to this Starbucks again, after all I do believe in second chances, and I was glad to see that the morning crew had a much more professional and Starbucks worthy attitude. So a BIG thank you to Katherine and Cassidy for proving that my experience was limited to a few individuals. I am happy to report that my service was pleasant and speedy.
Customer service is so important to a businesses image, brand loyalty, and ultimately, it’s success. When a business builds part of its business model around delivering exceptional customer service, it is a recipe for success despite unstable economic conditions. And, in a time when competition is stiff and price often dictates choices, it makes sense that businesses would want to put their best face forward and give customers a reason to choose them, regardless of price.
All that is to say I had a terrible experience at Starbucks yesterday in Reno on Double R and South Meadows. And if it was a single occurrence, I would just brush it off as no big thing. But I think it is more than that. One several occasions at multiple Starbucks locations in Nevada and California I have had both really good and really bad service. For example, there is a Starbucks in South San Francisco, that despite standing room only (there was probably upwards of 50+ people inside this Starbucks), and ten people with multiple orders in front of me I waited no more than 3 minutes for my coffee once I ordered. That was fantastic. Also, the staff was very friendly and service oriented – exactly what you would expect from Starbucks.
However, yesterday, my experience was less than desirable. I went in on my way back to work after lunch to get a grande iced coffee. When I walked in there were a few people in the store, but no one in line. The two employees behind the counter were chatting with a customer who already had her drink. No big deal. They greeted me, said good-bye to their friend and came to take my order – again, all fine. When I placed my order the two employees argued about whether or not the one could use the other’s pen to write my drink order on the cup. Um…really? That seemed childish and slightly unprofessional, but maybe they were goofing around and being light-hearted. Again, whatever, I wasn’t really bothered by that, maybe annoyed but nothing to write a blog post about. After paying for my drink, I walked to the end of the counter where the barista puts the drinks on the bar. And I waited. And I waited. The two were chatting and not appearing to make drinks. Then a drink appears on the bar and the barista calls out the order – not mine. Really? There were other drink orders waiting and they had been chatting and wasting time? The barista proceeded to call out four more drink orders – again not mine and still no one else had come in after me. Are you kidding me? I was on my way back to work and expected to get my drink fairly quickly – especially since no one was in line when I walked in and it was an iced coffee. All they had to do was pour the cold coffee in a cup and fill it with ice. As I am still waiting for my drink, the girl who had been in there when I walked in came back and said she was going to be nice and buy the homeless man a hot chocolate. The barista says, ” why on earth do you want to do that?” Um, really? How rude, disrespectful, and incredibly unprofessional. Then he tells her, ” all he does is come in here and destroy our bathroom. You shouldn’t buy him a drink.”
I was flabbergasted. Not only were they goofing around and not respecting my time, but they were knocking this girl who was being generous and doing something nice for someone who was less fortunate than herself. I finally got my drink, added my cream and sugar, grabbed the managers card and decided to write this post. I am astounded at the lack of professionalism by these two employees. It does not matter their personal feelings about anything. When they are on the clock, they are representing Starbucks. Both of these employees showed a complete disregard for service by making not only myself wait for my drink, but the 5 other drinks that had to wait because they were too busy chatting with this other girl.
Should these two be fired? No, they deserve a second chance. Everyone makes mistakes. But I do believe that they ought to be made aware of how unprofessional they behaved, the standard of care that Starbucks expects their employees to provide while on the clock, and a warning that future unprofessionalism will not be tolerated. If the behavior can be corrected, everyone benefits. If it is left untreated, Starbucks and its customers suffer.
Customer service – it’s a lost art. People forget that customers appreciate kindness and care and that behavior is often rewarded. Showing up to punch a clock with a poor or disrespectful attitude needs to no longer be tolerated. I hope this location can improve. I have been in there at different times of the day and there are several employees who work hard and well. But these two have certainly made a great cup of coffee taste sour.