What’s in a name? The Starbucks Experience

The second installment in my year end reflection brings me back to lessons learned from a Starbucks barista named Joy Wilson, as shared in my book The Starbucks Experience:

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 be his or her most valuable possession.

Barista Joy Wilson shows what is possible when staff put their own individual style to being welcoming, “I’m the drive-thru 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 takes knowing peoples’ names seriously. This includes going home and entering the information she obtains into a spreadsheet that she later reviews.  Starbucks leadership helped Joy appreciate the importance of being welcoming and then praised her approach.  They do not expect nor do they encourage others to use Joy’s method. Instead, leadership provides partners 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 uniqueness that partners generate new ways to excel.

How committed are you to remembering your regular customers’ names?

How does it feel when your name is remembered?

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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