Sunday, March 22, 2009
Through the wonder of Twitter connections, I read a great post on Lawain McNeil's Advisor Blog about 'Jake the Barista' at his local Starbucks. In the post, Lawain makes an excellent attention point for corporations; your goals, your mantra, your senior leadership - great things to have, but it is the execution-level personnel that make lasting impact on your consumers. They are the advocates. They are the face and they can make or break you. Especially in these economic times.
This is true of Mary in the Winchester Center store. (That's Mary below.) The Starbucks in Winchester Center is near the commuter rail station, so they get a lot of people with one eye nervously toward the train tracks and one eye toward the brewed coffee. Mary knows who those people are and has been known to put coffee on the counter as folks hit the door (with their correct change in hand) no discussion, no waiting. Mary seems to know who everyone is - calling many by their name and confirming if they'd like their usual. That would be a large bold for me (and my friend Beth, who I show up with most every morning) and yeah, I know that's not Starbucks ordering lingo, but my ability to keep sizes straight only works in English. With lines heading out the door, Mary will shout out "GOOD MORNING LORI AND BETH" and she rolls with it when I shake things up and order tea instead of coffee (I'm crazy like that sometimes.)
Mary is positive, she is pleasant and she is professional - but more than that, she is actually kind. She scans the crowd to reassure folks using the Mary Mindwave ("I see you, we're getting to you soon.") Mary is the rare embodiment of a great corporate face. We are willing to overlook giant coffee overlord behavior when the company is brought down to one smiling, understanding face (who remembers to ask if you like the espresso ground on 3 for the home machine.) In short, Mary IS Starbucks for me. She is the brand - and I recognize how fortunate I am every morning when I head to the office with a cup of liquid sanity. Thanks Mary.
Starbucks: take note - Mary should be doing the training for your people. Mary RULES.