How Starbucks puts the Customer First!

Starbucks “Green Apron Book”

Starbucks has added customer service and individual customer experience to quality coffee drinking. Starbucks operates on their “Green Apron Principles”. Starbucks “Green Apron Book” is one of the first and foremost items provided to a new Barista when they start their new job at Starbucks. It is called the “Green Apron Book” because the book is so small that it fits right in the pocket of the Barista’s green apron. The rationale behind the book is to provide the Barista an employee guided reference tool on Starbucks principles, their requirements on customer service, and customer satisfaction. The Green Apron Book is full of great insights into how Starbucks works and how customers should be handled at each customer contact point. The book contains many great illustrations along with extra pages for notes as the employee’s progress in their job. The book informs the employee about the purpose and goals of Starbucks, how to become knowledgeable of the coffee trade as a professional Barista, and how to create a great working environment. Most importantly, the book emphasizes the continued legendary service that was created by CEO Howard Schultz who made Starbucks what it is today.

The Green Apron Book outlines Starbucks mission: “To provide an uplifting experience that enriches people’s daily lives”. The book contains 5 Principles for achieving these goals and followed by all employees (“partners”):

  1. Be Welcoming: Offer everyone a sense of belonging.
  2. Be Genuine: Connect, discover, and respond.
  3. Be Knowledgeable: Love what you do. Share it with others.
  4. Be Considerate: Take care of yourself, each other, and the environment.
  5. Be Involved: In the store, in the company, and in the community.

(Saunders, 2012)

Starbucks has focused their business on the following elements to build high customer experiences with high customer satisfaction:



The coffee and drinks served from Starbucks coffee shops are served in a well-designed, welcoming environment where free Wifi is offered for the customer’s convenience.


Quality Coffee

Starbucks has set new standards for coffee bean production. Starbucks purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees which are obtained from a manufacturing network of quality coffee bean producers.


Motivated employees with high employees satisfaction create high customer satisfaction

Starbucks Invests a lot of time and resources in the education of their “partners”. Education is focused on product training but also includes building customer relationships and creating great customer experiences in all coffee shops in the Starbuck chain. Starbucks also focus its efforts on employee satisfaction (or partner satisfaction) as satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers.

Howard Schultz, Chairman, and CEO of Starbucks describes his philosophy as follows:

“We built the Starbucks brand first with our people, not with consumers. Because we believed the best way to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers was to hire and train great people, we invested in employees” – Howard Schultz, Chairman, and CEO of Starbucks (, 2007).

Howard Schultz introduced his “employee first strategy” during the beginning stages of Starbucks development, making it clear that it is the people, not the products, that identifies Starbucks.

Mogens visiting Starbucks in New York experiencing excellent customer service by very motivated employees with the right 3 A’s in place (Attitude, Attitude, and Attitude).



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