I love Starbucks Coffee…the coffee that is. However, Starbucks Coffee the company, has always piqued my curiosity about the way it has done things especially around their customer service.
For example, Starbucks Coffee Company describes itself as “A place for conversation and a sense of community. A third place between work and home.”
It is my belief that when a company puts something down in writing, as a company philosophy, there should be an all out effort to be consistent in that philosophy–from the big things to the little things.
Over the course of my frequent visits to my local Starbucks, I noticed the baristas never once asked me my name or made any attempt to see me as more than just a one-time customer. You could chalk this up to bad customer service. I would label it bad customer service if Starbucks hasn’t made such a big deal about wanting to be this “third place” and the fact that the company has been held up as a model of customer service.
Hence, one of my never-ending curiosities about Starbucks has been the lack of name tags for the baristas (besides the obvious question about why they do not try to get to know their customers better).
According to one article on Eater.com, the lack of name tags for the baristas of Starbucks may be changing.
Not everyone thinks this is a good move.
Commentators (which reportedly include current Starbucks baristas) on the blog Starbucks Gossip debate on the new move to name tags. Some of the reasons against the name tags include safety, awkwardness of customers knowing their name, lack of uniformity in the tags, costs, and name tags mirroring more of a fast food image. One commentator writes, “Names should be learned as a natural consequence of connecting with one another.”
Agreed. And I could certainly ask for their name. However, when I invite guests into my home, I take on the burden of making them feel welcomed. Don’t you? And for a company that has built its brand around being the “third place” and a model of customer service, I would think the first connection attempt would come from the barista.
What do you think? Will name tags for the baristas make a positive difference?
P.S. According to one article, Starbucks did more than a year of research to make this decision about name tags. I would have gladly done this research for them in a quarter of the time. Mr. Schultz, let me give you a quote next time!