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You know when you visit a (good) friend – and they serve you something: a drink, a sandwich, that’s not quite to your liking? Often, with a close friend, you feel comfortable asking for another option, or a correction. Well, that’s what Starbucks is like.

On Canada Day (July 1), after getting some much needed R&R watching Wimbledon (my personal favourite), we decided to head out to our local Starbucks café and get ourselves some Strawberries & Cream beverages. (Nothing like “Strawberries and Cream to celebrate both Canada Day and Wimbledon. Quite a propos!)

Well – one of the two (identical) beverages we ordered was perfect. A sweet and creamy blend of a little bit of heaven. The other drink, however, was a delicious blend of cream and… cream!

I didn’t even think twice to go back into the café and ask the Barista for a correction. And, without hesitation – she apologized took my cup and prepared a new beverage, which, I must add, was simple perfection.

What struck me most was how all three of the Baristas on shift continued to apologize. Guys – Starbucks is a friend. There is no need to apologize because I know I’m comfortable asking for a change. I know that I will not get mistreated or disrespected. And, I know that you will make it right.

Though I don’t know all the details of a Barista’s training – I can tell you this: Starbucks ranks 7th on the list of top 50 employers (and has also made the list of top 100 employers in Canada for young people). This is obvious from the pleasant demeanor (of most) of the Baristas I’ve met. It is also clear that they have empowered their employees, and provided simple solutions bound to ensure the satisfaction of the customers. This latter insurance makes it easy for employees and customers to avoid any unpleasant confrontations, and enhances the experience and brand perception.

Starbucks understands the value of the interaction between two people – whether satisfied or not – when defining the brand experience. In this case, the brand is my friend.