Friday, June 8, 2012

FRED Friday...Meet Abbey & her Partners, the Starbucks Freds

FRED Friday…Meet Abbey & her Partners, the Starbucks Freds
Last weekend I visited Seattle for the first time.  A must see, near Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, is The First Starbucks.  

I’m a huge fan of Starbucks, the company…although I don’t drink a great deal of coffee…I’m a fan nonetheless.

My experience at the First Starbucks Store last Saturday reminded why Starbucks is one of my favorite organizations…

I’ll paint the picture for you…

Abbey was our Barista.  She diligently prepared each Guest’s beverage almost effortlessly; churning, pouring, scooping, operating, and…PERFORMING and SERVING.  She was dancing with a young girl as she handed over her beverage of choice.  She was singing with the gentleman in front of us (in the almost Disney attraction-esque queue line). 

Then it was our turn…we were up next…that awkward moment between ordering and actually receiving that freshly concocted Starbucks beverage was not awkward at all.  Abbey captivated us with a genuine smile, and I couldn’t help but smile right back. 

I said to her, “I love the sing’n and dance’n…what’s your name?”

She replied, “Of course…why not?  Might as well have fun, right?  My name’s Abbey…”

We engaged in further conversation with Abbey, and we built a little community while she and her colleagues put the finishing touches on our beverages.  We were smiling.  She was smiling.  We weren’t tapping our feet, while waiting…we found ourselves experiencing Abbey and experiencing Starbucks and experiencing a fun, new connection.  Abbey made it all about the people she was serving…not the coffee.

What’s better than a Fred?   A Team of Freds…

Before we even made it to Abbey, we were witness to an entire team of Freds.  While ordering, I told the ladies behind the counter that I don’t really drink coffee, but that I wanted to buy something from the First Starbucks…just…because it seemed like the thing to do.  So I asked them for some suggestions. 

Rather than simply suggesting one of the many beverages on the menu, not one, not two, but three enthusiastic young ladies first collaborated…putting their heads together to suggest just the right beverage for me.  Then they asked me what I liked.  They then went OneMoreStep, with genuine, bright bubbly smiles as they enthusiastically asked, “oh…do you like Captain Crunch cereal?!?!?!!?”

Um…of course I said, “yes!”  promptly followed by a high-five…times two.

They proceeded to fire up a refreshing smoothie…strawberry, banana-ish, yet with that very familiar and nostalgic Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries taste.  I ended up loving it.  And the ladies behind the counter all but hi-fived each other out of sheer excitement and satisfaction, knowing that I was walking away happy with their suggestion. 

They then carried on with their art, passing sleeves of cups and lids from one to another as if they were the men throwing fish two blocks down the street at the fish market…laughing, joking, smiling, and connecting with each individual Guest.  All the while, making it about people…not the coffee.

Sure, I didn’t get a traditional Starbucks coffee drink, but we got something even better…a personalized experience.

(Meanwhile the line of Guests behind me continued to queue up and bend out the door, stretching halfway down the block outside the store…all of a sudden we realized why so many people were lined up…they wanted this EXPERIENCE too.  We couldn’t blame them…it was great.)

Experiences like the one we had at The First Starbucks with Abbey and her partners are why people like me go to Starbucks on their days off to relax, work, think, and/or just be…it’s not about the coffee.  It’s about the service and the experience. 

Abbey and the team certainly attract through artistry, and continually create value for each other and their Guests as they replace money with imagination, ala Mark Sanborn's story of Fred the Postman…they know how to create value without it costing Starbucks a penny…they make it ALL about the people…not the coffee.  They are true Freds…

I’d say Howard Shultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, would be thrilled to know that Abbey and her partners at The First Starbucks are truly making his vision a reality - that Starbucks is not in the coffee business serving people…but instead they are in the people business serving coffee.

Thanks to Abbey, her partners, and Starbucks for reminding all of us that it’s not about the products or services we provide that make our organizations successful…we’re reminded that it’s the emotional connections we can choose to make with every individual with whom we interact that ultimately create valuable Guests, Customers, and Clients…from there it’s the relationships not the transactions that create the real value.

We can all apply a little passion and creativity to our work, regardless of our industry or occupation, and when we do…that’s when the ordinary becomes extraordinary

So I agree with Mark Sanborn…nobody can prevent us from being extraordinary!

Have a great day.


Related Post:

It's About People 

A video of the scene outside The First Starbucks...for the road...
I love Streetmosphere at all the Disney Parks...there's something about the entertainment and the experience of the live performance that I just love.  Seattle was great because of the personality and authentic culture around every corner...especially musical culture.  

I loved this...this was real life STREETMOSPHERE...


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