Be Welcoming, A Valuable Tip from Starbucks

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Starbucks Coffee distribution center located here in Northern Nevada. With beautiful views of the Carson Valley mountains, this distribution center is a huge operation shipping coffee throughout the western region. As I waited in the lobby, I was intrigued to read the Starbucks’ mission statement posted on the wall. Was it just words or does the organization really do what they say they believe in?

Within minutes I had my answer – yes, they really have a warm and welcoming culture that radiates out from all the interactions between HR, supervisors and the employees or “partners”. It’s not only words on the wall here at the distribution center but in every Starbucks store I’ve visited across the country. This core philosophy of “Be Welcoming” is included in The Starbucks’ Five Ways of Being which is captured in a pocket-sized book called The Green Apron Book given to each partner.

I love this idea . . . and how often we forget that being welcoming is not only critical to attracting new clients but to keeping our current and past clients engaged with us. Starbucks defines “be welcoming” as “offering everyone a sense of belonging”. It’s creating that sense of genuine connection (not just a transaction) that we all naturally want with others. Here are a few simple ways we can provide this in our own businesses and professional work.

  • Learn people’s names – remember & use them always
  • Listen to at’s important to people in both their personal & work lives
  • Be flexible in responding to people’s needs – everyone is different
  • Do a little extra for others – you will be appreciated and remembered
  • Stay in touch – don’t ignore people once they start to do business with you.
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