Starbucks store in New York city: an employee has lost control after one client forgets to provide her name to put on a cup. Few hours after the facts comments of Ruby Chen (the client) are already on facebook

Terrible experience: in 5/12/2015, 86 – 51 Broadway, Elmhurst store, manager Melissa seems to have the anger management issue.


She took my order of one “Frappuccino” and one special straw. I didn’t hear her coworker asking my name to put on a cup at first because I was opening my reward App on my phone to pay, then Melissa started to shout at me saying hey hellooooo with very bad attitude. The only thing I said to her is “Sorry, I didn’t pay attention but you don’t have to yell”. And till now, I haven’t figure out which word aggravated her. Then she took the scanner away as I was trying to pay, then told me to leave and never go back. I was trying to ask other employees who I can speak to. She thought I was leaving with the straw on my hand (I picked it up before everything happened) and she screamed I was stealing the straw!”

Starbucks replied to the comment on Facebook shortly after:

“Ms Chen, this experience is not reflective of the service our partners provide to our customers every day. Someone from our leadership team will be reaching out to you shortly to apologize and make this right.”

Few days later it emerged that the employee was fired. A company spokesman reported that as soon as Starbucks became aware of the situation, it suspended the employee who is no longer working for the company. Ruby Chen added that Starbucks contacted her to communicate that: “we are taking seriously this issue”. The company offered her also a $100 Starbucks gift card as an apology.

Certainly the customer Ruby Chen has not lived an unforgettable experience in the Starbucks store involved with the unpleasant issue. The employee who suffered the anger management issue was one of the most important touchpoints between the customer and the brand in the store and she was the one who instigated the chaos, creating a great problem for Starbucks in terms of image. The company tried to batten down the hatches offering a fast and immediate assistance to the damaged customer.

The employees are the most powerful resource to offer a superior customer experience and exceed the expectations of the client: it’s necessary to ask themselves some questions, find an answer and eventually act accordingly:

  • Which experience my brand/store/restaurant desires to offer to its clients?
  • Which promises my brand/store/restaurant delivers to its clients?
  • All partners are aware of the promises of our brand and the experience that we want to offer?
  • Are all partners adequately trained to offer a superior customer experience to the clients of the brand/store/restaurant?

In order to work on these and other fundamental questions and to know how to engage the whole corporate ecosystem in offering a customer experience consistent with the identity and the promises of your brand, please write to: