You could not miss the news yesterday: Starbucks closed their U.S. stores Tuesday night to spend three hours working on their customer service.
Starbucks is an incredible success story about meeting customer needs and desires. I don’t use the term “desire” lightly, Starbucks is really all about the desire, the customers desire. Visiting Starbucks is an event. Even when it is an extremely short visit, a drop into a Starbucks has a consistency and familiarity that screams out the value the company places on customer service.
And that’s why they closed for three hours, to raise their level of customer service. Although the specific activity taking place in all those 7000-plus Starbucks was barista training, the actual effect was to reinforce the customer experience and deliver better customer service.
So what does this mean to small business? Here’s a huge company, over 135,000 baristas in the U.S. alone, that stopped to refocus on customer service and a prime differentiator for their business. Small businesses everywhere have learned to use customer service as a differentiator from their competitors and especially from big business, this is a small business way of life: learn to Dance Among Elephants.
That a big company like Starbucks recognized this need for superior customer service demonstrates how important customer service is to all businesses. Even better, Starbucks plans to expand this refocus activity internationally to all their stores and include the 4000 licensed outlets, too.
Here’s my challenge to you: Take a few minutes, wander around you business. Is it time to refocus on your core business strengths? Is it time to renew your focus on customer service?