CX Stories

Amazingly Shocking Customer Experience Story: Cup Talks with Starbucks!

Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru

Starbucks is a repository of many great customer experience stories. It continues to reign as the emperor of coffee shops owing to its uncanny approach towards its customers, who in turn vouch for its coffee as well as its customer experience. This particular story is the quintessential example of why Starbucks is such a crowd puller!

This is a story that occurred in Chicago, Illinois towards the latter part of 2012. Gini Dietrich, a regular Starbucks customer, had gotten back home after a really long vacation and was exhausted. She decided to upsize her usual tall non-fat latte to a grande through an acquaintance, Mr. D. When he got back with her grande, she found something interesting written on the coffee cup. Have a look at it yourself!


It was as if the barista at Starbucks knew of the situation that she was in. He was thoughtful enough to understand the idea that a customer had ordered a large drink and it could mean that she was in for a long and tiring day. Gini found this act thoughtful and amazing and posted a photo of the cup on Facebook. But, It did not end there!

A month later, Mr. D brought her yet another personalised cup.


Mr. D explained to her that Starbucks questioned her existence as it hadn’t seen her! She responded with ‘May be’, further adding, ‘depends on your definition of real’ and sent the cup back the next day.

The conversation continued as she received another cup asking her indirectly if both their definitions of real matched.


This developed into a weird but extremely interesting four-month relationship in which the communication was only through the coffee cups delivered by Mr. D. Below are a few conversations that Gini and the barista had.

SBKS-Cup-4 SBKS-Cup-5

Now, Gini continued to post each of the photos on Facebook and soon enough, these cups and the questions became a great source of entertainment to her friends and folks. Her friends actually began to vote for the right option she must tick!

Gini took a break from the coffee cup stories because of her travel to a few countries. But, she made her entry back into Starbucks through the cups sometime later. Here’s how the conversations ensued.


The conversations became more interesting and absorbing with Gini sending some of her own questions to the barista.

SBKS-Cup-7         SBKS-Cup-8

These incredible conversation continued until one day when she learnt that the barista was soon going to quit Starbucks. Here is how she learnt of the message:


However, through Mr. D, she found out who the barista was and on his last day at work, she met him personally to bid him goodbye. Hence, in October 2012, Gini finally met Dan, the barista and had conversations outside of the cups! She learned that he moved to Chicago in pursuit of becoming a pastry chef. And now that he had become one, he was set to leave Starbucks to move ahead in his career.

Here is a picture of Dan and Gini together!


Wasn’t that truly an amazingly shocking story? Now, Dan did something that not all employees of an organization would. He took the effort of connecting with his customer personally, making her feel valued and loved and giving her a reason to be loyal beyond just the coffee. He went beyond the call of his job and took out time to connect with a long-time customer, setting a great example of how such micro-interactions can impact a company in a humongous way.

If every employee understands the impact that his/her small actions can have on the customers, there’d be few dissatisfied customers! Don’t you think so?

Source: A fantastic Starbucks customer experience story

Recommended Articles

Starbucks Customer Experience

Starbucks Could Have Avoided Losing $20 Million, And So Can You

The leaders of Starbucks, the world’s favorite coffeehouse chain, have often encouraged their customers to…


Celebrating #WomenInCX this #InternationalWomensDay

This International Women’s Day, we at Customer Guru would like to honor women CX professionals…


Never Hesitate To Apologize To An Unsatisfied Customer – Kanika Tekriwal, Founder, JetSetGo

Kanika Tekriwal founded JetSetGo in 2014. Today, JetSetGo operates India’s largest private jet and helicopter…