How I became an ADDICT!
The Hidden Face of Addiction
It was Monday morning around 9:30 am. I had enough time to go to my favorite Starbucks and have my favorite drink made by my favorite Barista and her team. The line was forming to about ten deep and I was fifth in.
Before I could make it to the front; from behind the coffee bar Liz called out, “Hey honey; Are you having your summer usual?”
I nodded in agreement with a slight grin and chuckle under my breath.
“She knows me so well; even the difference between my summertime and wintertime drinks” I thought.
Liz continued, “Your hubby came in this morning and your son got the ‘Brytt Special’; he loves that drink”.
The ‘Brytt Special’ is a concoction that Liz made just for my son after he confessed his love for Oreo cookies. After the first sip Brytt proclaimed “This is why I am a Starbucks addict; drinkable Oreo Cookies. I LOVE YOU LIZ!” She named the drink the ‘Brytt Special’ and put it on the board.
After chatting for a couple of minutes about her daughter, my Black Enterprise Magazine interview, and the week’s upcoming events I grabbed my coffee to go. The day and week were off to a perfect start.
My story does not sound any different from most people’s stories of brands that they love. They are probably loyal; but are they addicted? How does addiction begin?
The Hidden Skills of a Street Corner Pharmaceutical Salesman
The local street corner pharmaceutical salesman… ok… drug dealer has a thriving business. The sell a product that changes the way people feel; and if that feeling is really good the customers will consistently come back for more. Before you know it you neighbor is breaking into you house to steal and sell your stuff to buy more Starbucks. But he knows something that many of us miss out on; they consider what they need to do to get the fourth sale; not just the first. This is how Starbucks gets way beyond the fourth sale… which also starts with the first.
One morning I was running late but was in serious need of a caffeine “pick me up”. This is not the norm. I don’t even have a coffee maker at home because I am not a regular coffee drinker; in fact I don’t really care for the stuff.
I headed into a local Starbucks in bit of a rush. The lady behind the counter asked for my order. I replied, “You know I don’t really like coffee; but I am running late, and I need some caffeine.” She said, “Hmmm… Do you like tea or dark chocolate?”
“I love dark chocolate” I exclaimed.
“It’s summery outside, why don’t I get you a JavaChip Frappuccino” she suggested as she started writing on a cup after asking my name.
Unsure of what she was talking about, I simply shrugged in agreement.
“So what do you do” she asked as she started to pump, mix, ice, and blend.
As I shuffle through my wallet in search of my credit card I said, “I am an expert in the field of compelling communications and engaging leadership. I speak and consultant on those topics. I am running late for a meeting after spilling orange juice on my clothes. So I had to change, missed breakfast and feel like I just need something to get me going in the right direction”
About half way through the 350 different customer rewards cards in my wallet, I realized that I left my credit card on my desk the night before.
With the most apologetic tone that I could muster from my own frustration and embarrassment I said, “I am so sorry… this is just not my day; I left my credit card at home on my desk”.
In a kind voice she replied, “I’m Liz. Why don’t you have this coffee and a pastry on me? You gotta have breakfast and this’ll be your first step towards a better day.”
I couldn’t believe it. She doesn’t know me; why would she GIVE ME free stuff? I don’t even drink coffee. Other than coming back to pay for this purchase; I will never return. And she doesn’t know that I will come back to pay for anything!
A few days later I walked in and Liz greeted me immediately, “Hi Dawnna! Did your day get better? How did your meeting go?”
The warmth of her words, her smile, and her genuine interest made me feel right at home. She must see hundreds of people a day; why would she remember me?
“I did Liz and the meeting went great; they hired me to speak at their event! Thank you so much. I just wanted to come back and pay for order. I really appreciated it. It did start my day off just right.”
Liz replied, “Nope. Those books are closed and that was my gift to you. Did you like the JavaChip or do you want to try something new today? Don’t worry, we’ll find a drink that’s perfect for you.”
At that moment, Liz was not thinking of the first sale, she was thinking of the fourth sale and beyond. She wanted to know, HOW WE could find the perfect drink for me! That journey would likely take more than one or two or three tries; but she was willing to do it and suddenly I was willing to pay for her to try.
For over 5 years I have been a weekend regular at Starbucks… well at MY STARBUCKS where MY BARISTA makes MY FAVORITE “COFFEE”. The funny thing is that I am not a coffee drinker; but I am a Starbucks ADDICT! This means that I will not go to another coffee spot; I might go to another Starbucks but I will not go to another brand.
Loyalty or Addiction
Starbucks is very popular and they have tons of addicts… uh… loyal customers. Is it the coffee? Do you really think that people are paying a 500% markup for COFFEE? If so, you might want to look out for your neighbors if your TV is suddenly missing and they are drinking a Venti Mocha Cappuccino.
How does your company exceed customer expectations and loyalty numbers to really get them hooked on your product and create customer addiction?