It’s no secret – I am a big fan of Starbucks. One of my most memorable days last year was probably the moment when I finally got my gold card. Am I kidding? I’m not really sure. But I absolutely love my Starbucks gold card (a perk of being a loyal Starbucks customer where you earn a star with each individual purchase and soon are entitled to numerous freebies throughout the year).
I mean come on, smiling is allegedly part of their barista’s job descriptions! I smile naturally, so that is a positive drop in the bucket if you ask me. Honestly though, I don’t just respect Starbucks because of their high quality coffee. I respect the health benefits that their baristas get, the way their leadership is committed to ensuring growth doesn’t dilute company culture, and how they are committed to providing a consistent experience.
Just like many chains, no matter where you go, you can get a unique, authentic, and consistent Starbucks experience. So, yes, my loyalty to the coffee shop is much deeper than just hopping on the Starbucks bandwagon. No, I don’t love paying the price I do for a trendy cup of joe, but if I do, I do so confidently.
One of the things I respect most about Starbucks is their college achievement plan. As a corporation, they recently began making it possible for part and full-time employees to attain a college degree. Any of their employees who do not have a bachelor’s degree yet can apply. They can earn full tuition reimbursement for each year of coursework they complete toward that degree as juniors and seniors and if they enter the plan as a freshman or a sophomore they are eligible for a partial scholarship and need-based financial aid to help them gain the money to complete their coursework.
As a corporation, Starbucks is invested in their employees growing as people in their personal lives, their careers, and in their community. I haven’t looked for any others, but I also don’t know of any other companies who are as dedicated at this and demonstrate it, too. And I have endless respect for that.
So, the first part of this blog was already written randomly at a free moment in a Starbucks two months ago. Earlier today, a rainy fall day in September ’14, I came across a tweet that a friend had sent to the corporation, and it reminded me of why I respect Starbucks so much.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) September 24, 2014
Listening to your customers. It helps.