Good Hospitality Goes A Long Way…

I love going to Starbucks, but not specifically for what you may be thinking. While I do enjoy having a decaf lattee there several times a week, it’s actually the warmth and friendliness I receive there that keeps me coming back. In today’s day and age, I’ve found that these two traits are truly what keep customers coming back to just about any type of paying establishment who practices them. Unfortunately, not all businesses do and it’s often a major source of why they eventually go under.

Just the other day I experienced this very thing when I decided to try something at a Gloria Jeans Coffee establishment. When I attempted to order one of their frozen chiller drinks, I discovered they were all caffeine based. Given that I don’t consume caffeine, I asked if I could have one of them made with decaf coffee instead of the base they normally use. At a Starbucks, this type of request is always met with a big smile and a nod of approval. Here, it was met with a tremendous amount of negativity and resistance to even doing it. In fact the two women who were taking my order said that what I was asking for probably wouldn’t taste very good. At that point I became tempted to leave, but given my increased patience level these days, I told them it would be fine. After some frowns and grumbles, my drink was begrudgingly made in the way I asked, and just as I thought it would, it tasted great.

When I owned a bed and breakfast for a bunch of years, I learned that accommodating patrons requests no different than my own, were critical to having them become repeat guests in the future. Sadly, what I experienced at that Gloria Jeans Coffee convinced me not to go back there again. At Starbucks, that never happens. I can order my Venti, Decaf, Soy, Double-Cup, 180 Degrees, No Foam, Whip On Top Latte and it’s never met with anything but a smile and sometimes even a friendly joke. In other coffee chains though, trying to order something like this often proves to be too much of a hassle to ever return there.

While I’ve never asked any Starbucks employee if its stressed during their training to always smile and be friendly to every customer, I find that each of them do. People get upset at how expensive they think this chain is and some have even given it the nickname of “Fivebucks”. I don’t share in their opinions because it’s one of the rare businesses these days that offer consistent hospitality. I’d really like to believe that my request at another Gloria Jeans Coffee might have been met with that. I’m not sure if I’ll ever find the answer to that out, but I definitely can see that great hospitality is critical for a business to survive these days.

Sometimes, when a person is having a bad day, or feels alone, or is depressed, being greeted with warmth and friendliness that comes with good hospitality can move the heart and soul. Those are two traits that I continuously try to work on with the God of my understanding as I believe that being nice and kind to everyone is important.

So whether a business trains an employee to demonstrate those traits or not, shouldn’t really matter. Instead, what should, is treating everyone with the same love and light that they would want returned to themselves. Starbucks is one of those places where I see this consistently happening, and maybe that’s why this company became so profitable?

Regardless, the real lesson here is this. If you are an employee of any consumer-based business, no matter what type it is, be sure to show as much hospitality as you can to each and every customer. In doing so, you’re not only going to be helping your business succeed, but you’ll also be adding a lot more love and light to both this planet and your own life.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson