Customer Service and Word of Mouth

In his blog post “The Gift of Starbucks“, Donald Converse talks about his admiration of Starbucks and shares some anecdotes supporting his positive feelings for the coffee giant. This happy, shiny word of mouth endorsement is the kind of thing that made the company so successful. Such stories of praise convince others to try Starbucks out.

But is the rare incident of customer pampering truly indicative of the overall experience? I live in New York City where it seems there is a Starbucks on every other corner. I do not go often, but in my life time I have probably been to the coffee bar 20 or so times. I have had a few bad experiences and not a single instance where they tried to make it up to me.

Does my experience prove that most Starbuck employees aren’t attentive to customers? Or is Donald’s experience the one that proves the rule? It is hard to say from one or two anecdotes if a business is truly a customer champion. I suppose that is the danger of word of mouth. At a certain point the word of mouth discussion of a company, whether good or bad, become “truth” and the quality of a business becomes urban myth.

When has word of mouth failed you? Or proven true?KO