My unfashionable fondness for Starbucks was reinforced today. I went in this morning and picked out a cheese and marmite panini (panino?), which I handed across the counter so they could toast it for me. A few minutes later one of the staff emerged from the steam and handed one piping hot package to me, and another to a man in a suit standing behind me. The suit looked like a bacon man, and as I left the shop I peered inside my bag to check I hadn’t accidentally got his bacon sandwich, which it turned out I had (an advantage to worrying about nearly everything is that sometimes you discover a problem before it’s too late to fix it).
The suit had disappeared, but I went back into the shop, explained, and handed over the rogue bacon bun. They made me a new sandwich, which you would expect, but they also said sorry (several times), and gave me a voucher for a free drink at any Starbucks, to make up for it. Since I only drink tea and I can get that for free in the office I will be passing the voucher on to someone more likely to make use of it, but it was the thought that counted. Tiny bits of good customer service like that are enough to make me unswervingly loyal to a brand, just as I am with Virgin since they replied to my complaint about our TV service going kaput for two days by calling me, giving me a refund and passing on the name and extension number of someone whom I could call back directly if the problem reappeared. YES. Thank you, Virgin. I like you even better than Starbucks, and I like them loads.