Education Makes Starbucks’ Customer Service Quality Star Shine

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I avoided caffeine for many years. But with so many flights and late, late nights, I recently tried “just a sip.” The next day I dunked a Danish pastry.

A few days later I asked for “half a cup, please.” In very little time, I was enjoying café latte for breakfast!

Much has changed in the world of coffee in the past few years. Waiters used to ask, “Would you like cream with your coffee? Will that be one sugar or two?” Now baristas enquire “Cappuccino wet or dry? Solo, doppio, soy, low-fat, not-too-hot, extra-hot, full or half-pump mocha?” The menu can be overwhelming.

Except at Starbucks where customer service quality is king. Starbucks is an extraordinary example of a company with loyal customers and vigorous global growth. One reason is their devotion to customer service quality. . Another is their fanatical commitment to cultivating customers through attractive and persistent education, which raises the customer service quality bar.

With my latest café latte I took a copy of each brochure sitting on the counter. The customer service quality commitment shines through in these documents. Here’s the rundown of what you can get simply by taking what’s freely offered:

1. The Story of Good Coffee –

12 panels detail the growing cycle, roasting, color and freshness of beans. Eight levels of roasting explained with clear graphics and text. It takes 4,000 beans to make one pound of coffee. The coffee bush takes five years before it yields a single crop.

2. The World of Coffee –

Another 12-panel tutorial on bean varieties around the world, including descriptions of 24 popular beans in four “coffee categories” for your tasting pleasure. Also a primer on “The Four Fundamentals of Brewing.” Ninety percent of your tasting ability is based upon your sense of smell. Ten grams of coffee and 180 millilitres of water is the “classic recipe” for a great cup of coffee.

3. Espresso. What You Need to Know –

I didn’t know what I didn’t know! Eight panels on “Grind, Dose, Tamp and Rate of Pour” with additional insights and graphics on properly steaming milk. The ideal temperature for steamed milk is 66–76 degrees centigrade. Foamed milk is a few degrees cooler due to “incorporated air.”

4. Experience the Perfect Cup –

An 8-panel treatise with cut-away schematics revealing the ingredients and precise architecture of the five most popular drinks. It includes company history and a sidebar on “additional choices.”

A 2-panel flyer encouraging you to try Starbucks new iced drinks – three unique blends in eleven different flavors.

6. How Are We Doing? –

A 4-panel customer survey form with postage paid to return your comments to the waiting eyes and ears at Starbucks.

Starbucks understands how to raise customer service quality levels. They are not just selling coffee; they are selling an experience rich in customer service quality. They are educating and creating loyal customers, building a long-term clientele, increasing understanding while promoting the industry, the products and the brand. This company knows the power of attraction is not just in the drinks, it’s in the experience they create – and the rich, steamy, full-bodied education they provide.

Key Learning Point For Customer Service Quality

Education adds value, and your customers want a full cup. Improve customer service quality by imparting some knowledge.

Action Steps For Customer Service Quality

What lengths do you go to effectively educate your customers and colleagues to raise customer service quality? Is your effort a watery dose of weak support with lukewarm staff and systems? Or are you serving a hot, fresh brew of potent answers, proactive ideas and positive, powerful insights? Your customer service quality might depend on your answers.
Now take your team to Starbucks. Order a round of delicious drinks and then get to work. Find a way to match Starbucks’ blend of attractive and effective education.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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