The Starbucks Experience

coffee

The “Starbucks Experience?” What in the world is that? I’ll explain…

Anyone that knows me knows one thing for sure – I love coffee. Not just any coffee either. I am a Starbucks fanatic. Hot, cold, iced, frozen, skinny, with whip, without, etc. I just love everything about Starbucks. I have been in many Starbucks locations over the years and I’ve had countless experiences with the team members there, but there’s one experience that I will NEVER forget.

My good friend and I were in Charleston, SC staying the night at a hotel before we boarded a cruise ship that was headed for the Bahamahas.  After a lack-luster italian meal, we decided that we’d take a trip to the local Starbucks for some coffee and pastries. Best decision I ever made!

I’m embarassed to tell you that I did NOT even glance at the name tag of *the* sweetest lady I’ve ever met. Although her name is not engrained in my memory, her warm smile and the MOST AMAZING macchiato I’ve ever had are!

So, I order as usual. “Ah man… I seriously can’t decide what I want. Ummm…” (Starbucks team member stares at me like I’m a loon) “Alright. I love the Caramel Macchiato, but I really love Hazelnut…” (side note: hazelnut is *the* most amazing flavor in the history of ever) I’m then informed that they have just released a brand new Hazelnut Macchiato with a (get this) HAZELNUT drizzle on top! I. Just. Died. “Well heck yeah! Give me one of those!”

As usual, I talk to just about anyone – so naturally I began talking to the barista about the newest addition to their lineup.  (When all elese fails, find some common ground and start running your mouth!) She and I quickly made a good conneciton and began talking all things hazelnut. Next thing I knew, I had (literally) a spoon-full of this hazelnut drizzle in my mouth. Talk about life-changing… WOW!

Now, you might ask “Ok, so she was sweet and gave you a spoon of the drizzle? There’s nice people everywhere.” Well here’s the deal… She was personable, she acted like she was glad I was there, she treated me as if I was the best customer she had ever had, I felt like that cup of coffee was made with love straight from her heart, she made a connection with me and went above standard protocol to show that she cared. Then, not only did she add a smiley face with my name on the cup, after she fastened the lid she added one last smile on the top. That 3 seconds right there made such a lasting impression on me. She made me feel like I was the most important person that Starbucks had ever served coffee to.

Here’s the sum total of all this… Starbucks has a certain feel that it gives me – and I dare say that most people get the same feeling. Yes, it’s pretty expensive when you have to pay $5 for coffee, milk and ice with a little sugar and whipped cream… But it’s Starbucks. It’s great, we love it, they make us feel good about buying their coffees and we look forward to every single sip.

Starbucks focuses on experience. Not just great coffee, (anyone can do that) but how you feel during the whole process. They’ve created a brand that you look forward to on your way to their store. As you walk inside you’re greeted by their edgy, yet comfy design, and the sweet aroma of fresh brewing coffee. (And admit it, who doesn’t like the smell of coffee? Even non-coffee drinkers love it!) As you order you have somewhere near 24,348 different options to choose from, so you know you’re going to get what you want. As you drink your beverage, you savor the flavor and stare at that prominent green mermaid logo. You just spent $5 on coffee, and you’re happy about it. That’s crazy, right? Here’s the thing… Just as soon as you’re finished with it, you begin thinking about the next time you’ll be enjoying something from Starbucks.

So, how in the world does this relate to photography and what Jordan Tickle is doing? Well, that feeling I’ve been talking about – that’s what I want my clients to feel. I want people to look forward to their photo sessions and working with me. During the session, you’re going to have a GREAT time, I promise. (Ask anyone that’s ever worked with me – we have a blast!) It’s all about the experience. Oh, and the ordering process should be the most fun! That’s the part when the barista hands you your coffee. Then you get to sit back and enjoy what you’ve been waiting for!

Bottom line – I feel that MY client experience is what sets me apart from the other photographers out there. I want YOU to have THE BEST interaction with me at our sessions that you’ve ever had anywhere before. Ever have a FANTASTIC meal, but the service was horrible? Ever had a lack-luster meal, but the service was excellent? Well I combine a top-of-the-line product with the best customer experience you can find, and that’s what I give to my clients.

Plain and simple – I want to be Starbucks to my clients.

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