The following story is taken from the book The Starbucks Experience – 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary by Joseph Michelli. For some reason everyone realizes how important their name is to them, but companies fail to realize how important names are to their customers.
Welcoming people by name and remembering them from visit to visit is a small thing, but it counts. The great Dale Carnegie recognized this in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie remarked, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Carnegie even suggested that a person’s name may his or her most valuable possession.
Barista Joy Wilson shows what is possible when staff members put their own individual style into being welcoming, “I’m the drive-through queen at my store. I always set out to do the best job I possibly can. One of the ways I do that is I learn people’s names and drinks and the name of their dog and where their kids go to school and whatever else I can find out about them.”
Joy is serious about knowing customers’ names. In fact, after work she enters information about her customers into a spreadsheet, which she later reviews. Starbucks leaders helped Joy appreciate the importance of being welcoming and praised her approach. They do not expect or encourage others to use Joy’s method. Instead, the leaders provide partners with the freedom to find what works best for them, their customers, and their stores. And it’s through leadership’s guidance, encouragement, and acceptance of their uniqueness that partners generate new ways to excel.
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